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9 Top Tips for Helping your Dog Lose Weight
Friday January 6th 2017
Is your doggy overweight or obese? This is actually a preventable problem that you can tackle to help make your pet healthy again.
Much like in people, if your pet’s calorie intake is higher than the calories they’re burning during daily exercise they’re likely to put on weight or even become obese. This can cause serious health issues and put added pressure on your pup’s joints. Eating a suitable diet for their age, health and lifestyle should be balanced against regular exercise including daily walks.
If your dog is overweight or obese, try taking these measures…
1. Visit your Vet Regularly
First of all, it’s essential you determine that your doggy is overweight, and the best way to do this is by asking your vet to weigh them.
The veterinary office has specialised animal scales and will know what your dog’s target weight should be for their age, size and breed.
Consulting a medical expert will also eliminate any health conditions such as hypothyroidism, diabetes or Cushing’s disease, of which weight gain could also be a symptom.
2. Weigh your Dog Once a Week
Keep track of your pup’s weight loss by weighing them once a week and noting it. It will keep check on whether your efforts are working, maintain your motivation to keep up the good work and let you know which stage your pup’s at on their weight loss journey.
3. Take Daily Walks up a Notch
Walking your pooch at least twice a day is important to maintain their health and happiness.
But, if its daily walks are a little low energy then you can perhaps increase their intensity by taking longer and more difficult routes, interspersing ‘walkies’ with short running bursts or taking on everyday obstacles – such as walls, steps or hills.
Stuck for time? If you’re a fan of multitasking, why not get your pet running alongside you when you go for a jog?
4. Feed your Pooch a Specialised Diet
With your vet, you should be able to determine how many calories or grams of food your doggy should be eating to get all the nutrients it needs while still being able to lose weight. This could include calorie controlled foods or feeding them dry or wet only.
5. Make your Dog Work for Food.
Puzzles and balls that dispense food help your dog to burn calories by making them work for their food or treats.
Take a portion of their daily food as the reward, rather than added treats and try to vary the toys to keep your dog interested and prolong the time it takes to figure out the puzzle.
6. Eliminate Edible Treats
Rather than rewarding your pup with its favourite foods, tasty treats and snacks, opt for alternatives such as affirming praise, throwing them a favourite toy, or embarking on a nice long walk.
Find out more about how to reward your dog without using treats click here
7. Sneak in Extra Exercise
Jumping for a Frisbee, chasing after a ball, playing fetch – high energy playtime is a great way to sneak in some exercise.
Think up creative ways to keep your pooch interested, like creating scent trains, obstacle courses or even taking your pup along to agility training.
8. Use a Muzzle for Walkies
It’s surprising how many discarded snacks and morsels your dog can sniff out and gobble up while on its regular walk.
Control the unsuspected treats your dog is covertly picking up by using a muzzle while out and about.
As long as the muzzle isn’t serving another purpose – such as keeping your pooch in check around other dogs – then there’s no need to fasten it tightly and your pup probably won’t even realise it’s on until it goes to gobble up someone’s discarded take-away.
9. Measure their Food
Portion control is a major element of managing your pup’s weight and measuring their food plays a vital role in this.
Ensure your dog is getting all the right nutrition as well as the correct amount of calories each day by using a measuring cup, scoop or scales to measure any meals.
The RSPCA has some guidance to determine if your dog is overweight or obese:
Your pet’s belly should be arches when viewed from the side.
The outline of your pet’s ribs should be able to be felt without excess fat covering.
Your dog’s waist should be clearly visible when viewed from above.