We have all done it. One day everything seems fine and the next we see our dog playing with the other dog’s at the park and realize that he has an entire roll of extra padding jiggling along beside him as he runs. Your dog is fat! How did it happen before your very eyes?
Much like humans, dogs tend to gain a little weight as they age, after having pups, during the colder winter months, and when life becomes too hectic to fit in even a short exercise session each day. The weight creeps up on both them and their owners, until one day the realization comes as a sudden jolt. Maybe your neighbor asks when the puppies are due or you annual trip to the vet turns into a lecture on how the added weight is destroying your dog’s health and happiness. It does not matter how it happened, what matters is getting the extra pounds off safely and for good!
Natural weight loss tips for dogs are a safe and reasonable way to slowly introduce your dog to new habits that will help keep the weight off permanently. Remember, it has taken him a long time to gain the weight ; it should take an equally long time to lose it!
Before Starting your Dog on a Natural Weight Loss Program
It is vital that before you start your dog on any weight loss and/or increased exercise program that you first take him to the vet for a full check up. Often overweight dogs suffer from a slow thyroid and all the dieting in the world will not help them to lose the extra pounds. Other medical conditions that could hamper his weight loss plans could include arthritis, heart or lung disease, and diabetes . Once Fido has a clean bill of health, it is fine for him to enter into a weight loss program.
Natural Weight Loss Tips for a Dog
Dogs gain weight for the exact same reasons as humans – they consume more calories then they burn in a day. Whether the amount of exercise has dropped because of illness, injury, or a crazy schedule, or whether their new food is more calorie dense then the old, the extra pounds have turned ‘Fido’ into ‘Fatso’ and you now have to do something about it.
It is important to understand that for body fat to stay off, daily habits must change. No more snacking between meals on ice cream and milk bones. Instead, new and lasting habits must be developed that will keep Fido in perfect form for years to come. The best way to do this is to make small, healthy and natural changes to his day-to-day routine.
Here are some natural weight loss tips for a dog:
Increase activity. Most dogs sleep for twenty hours a day although this changes depending on the household activity level. However you look at it though, that is a lot of doing nothing! Next time you are at the pet store, instead of buying treats, chews, rawhide, or pig’s ears, buy a bunch of new toys instead. When you leave for work, pick up all his toys and give him two back as well as one of the new toys. Do the same thing the next day and the next. Rotating through his toys keeps them new and exciting, increasing his desire to play with them during the day while you are gone. Make sure there is a variety to the toys as well – three of any one thing is boring no matter whether one of them is new or not!
- A carrot a day keeps the doctor away! Using carrots, green beans, peas, or pieces of banana as treats helps keep the calories down while increasing Fido’s fiber content, helping him stay full for longer.
- Buy a kibble or ‘treat’ ball. Treat or kibble balls are designed to hold a cup or more of either food or biscuits. As the dog rolls the ball around on the floor, the food drops out. This a wonderful way to feed an overweight dog their meal as it keeps them moving throughout their meal. These balls are also excellent for dogs that suffer from separation anxiety or that have a lot of extra energy.
- Add canned, pureed pumpkin to your dog’s meals. Increasing the fiber content in your dog’s diet will help keep him feeling satiated longer so he is less likely to beg, counter surf, or seek out his own special treats. Many commercial weight loss formulas are just higher fiber regular kibble so why not make your own weight loss formula? Dogs generally enjoy the pumpkin and by adding the fiber to their diet, you can decrease the amount of kibble without feeling like you are starving your pup.
- Join a dog sport. Dog sports such as agility, flyball, or ring-O are a fun way to bond with Fido while burning those extra calories. The added intensity of exercising while thinking will wear Fido out faster then anything and this new activity will help keep him in great shape!
Get active and Fido will follow along with your plan! Dogs love spending time with their humans exercising and your health can only improve right along with Fido’s!