Is Fido or Fifi looking a little pudgy around the middle? As dog owners we often equate showing love by over-feeding and giving treats. Over time, all that extra food creates an overweight dog that now needs our help to shed those excess pounds of love. These are the best ways to help your dog lose weight, and you may find yourself dropping a few pounds along with him.
As a dog breeder, I’m often asked what is the best food to feed a new pup or adult dog. My answer is always a well-rounded, high-nutrient puppy food in dry form for the first year, followed by a similar dry food formulated for adult dogs that is low in calories during the adult years. The key is adjusting the amount of food that is fed to the dog.
If the dog is not very active and appears to be gaining too much weight, reduce the amount of dry food fed each day by one-fourth. That is typically not the problem I nor my new owners have, since I deal primarily with hyperactive Jack Russell terriers, however even with a very active dog breed like Jacks, over-feeding them will result in them becoming overweight. For dog owners who swear by canned food, the same rules apply – chose a high-quality, reduced-calorie canned food and reduce the amount fed each day by one-fourth to achieve weight loss.
When to Feed
Feed your dog twice a day, early morning and early evening. This will give your dog time to burn off the calories and eliminate before bedtime. Food should not be left in the bowl all the time so the dog can graze all day, usually out of boredom. Regular feeding times should be established and then they will become an anticipated time of bonding for both of you.
A good dog deserves a treat, just make it a good treat. Most dogs enjoy crunching on baby carrots and apple slices, both are low-calorie and just as healthy for our Pooch as they are for us.
A great way to provide your good dog with a treat is to use interactive toys in which the treats are placed inside the toys and Fido has to work to get at them. Place the treat-filled toy at the top or bottom of the stairs so Fido will have to go after it will help him burn off a few more calories.
There’s no way around it, dogs need exercise, especially when you’re helping them lose weight. No need to start an entire new exercise routine, just increase walking time and play time by five minutes each every day. The same basic regimen must be followed for a dog to lose weight as for a human – eat less and exercise more, with slow and steady winning the weight loss game.