Image Credit: Claudia Bensimoun
Check your dog’s weight regularly, and feel his rib cage. If you cannot find his ribs, then he’s possibly a tad too heavy. Take a good look at him sideways; his stomach should be tucked in a little behind his rib cage.
Fun ways to exercise your dogs and help them lose weight
As with people, exercise and healthy eating habits help an overweight dog shed extra pounds. If your dog is not exercising every day, start taking him for longer walks on the beach or at the dog park. For those of us that don’t feel like jogging every morning, bring along a great book, and just hang out at the dog park while your dog plays with other dogs. Start exercising slowly if you do take up jogging, or going for long hikes. If your dog gets tired quickly, let him rest, and slowly build up his endurance over a few months.
Cutting down on food
Cut back slowly when reducing your dog’s food. Instead of cutting back, opt for feeding healthy treats like raw carrots and vegetables, and switching to a healthier brand of dog food that contains higher amounts of protein and vegetables.
Visit your veterinarian
Consult with your vet before putting your dog on any diet. Your veterinarian will most likely run a series of blood tests to check for low thyroid levels, which often can cause weight gain. When that’s ruled out, veterinarians can recommend a specially formulated diet that your dog would benefit from. Switching to a low- calorie, high- fiber dog food, or possibly a prescription diet, or even cooking fresh whole foods for your dog each day all help prevent obesity.
Treats should be no more than 5% of the calorie intake each day
Treats like cooked salmon, blueberries, carrots, green beans, cubed cheese and cooked sweet potatoes often become a favorite with dogs, nonetheless they may not enjoy them when first given. High protein treats like cubed hamburgers, or cooked chicken bits work well as training treats, and have fewer calories than some of the other commercial treats.
Play and the dog park. Fun and exercise
If you’re still not sure as to how much you should be feeding your pooch, take into consideration age, how much exercise he gets each day, his general health, breed, weight, and the brand of dog food that is currently being fed. Every dog’s needs are different, even within the same breed. Look out for those wonderful food dispensing toy and puzzles that are out there. These are awesome for slowing down a guzzler. Lastly always use a standard measuring cup to measure out your dog’s feed and keep going to the dog park! Organize play dates with other dogs that have made friends your dog, and meet at a specific time each day for play dates at the park. Dogs thrive on meeting up with their canine buddies!
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