There is something special about having your four-legged friend spend time with you. It is calming, relaxing and satisfying. These also happen the be a few of the reasons why the average pet owner will bend house rules from time to time when it comes to treats for their pet. Over time that very happy dog can also become very unhealthy with weight gain. Just like humans, additional fat is not good for your fur baby, either. But how do you get your best friend down to a healthy weight and maintain it? Here are a few tips the help you with that.
1 – Just Because It Makes His Or Her Tail Wag, Doesn’t Mean It’s Good For Them
The food you feed your dog is of vital importance. The cheaper the brand, the more filler will be added to the actual kibble in the bag. So, your first defense is to start reading labels. If you are already careful of what you put into your body, then you’ll understand why you have to also monitor what you offer your pet at mealtime. Avoid any kind of bagged food that does not provide a balanced diet for your pet. For assistance on the right food for your dog, ask the pet store clerk and your vet for advice.
2 – If It Says Two Cups Of Food Per Meal, That Doesn’t Mean Feed Three Cups
Once you determine the best type of food to feed your fur baby, be sure to follow the feeding guidelines outlined on the packaging of that bag of food. Generally the suggested amount of food is measured in relation to the weight of your dog. If your dog is already overweight, cut back on the suggested serving size. For proper weight maintenance, follow the guidelines provided on the food packaging and ensure that your dog has access to plenty of fresh, clean water as well.
3 – Even If The Table Scraps Are Of Greens And Vegetables, Don’t Feed Them To Your Dog
One of the main reasons why dogs end up overweight is that they have devised ways to trigger your instinct of feeding them when they let on that they are hungry. The dinner table is one such place where this tends to happen. We admit it. It is easy to just offer something from the main course to get your dog away from the table. However, table scraps contain a lot of added ingredients that may make your dog sick. Not to mention add to their weight the more you feed from the table. It’s a hard habit to break, but both of you will be better off when you’ve broken it.
4 – If You Are In Need Of An Exercise Companion, You’ve Already Got One
Even if all you are doing is taking a quick walk around the block for your own health, why not take your pooch along with you? The exercise will do the both of you good and it will become a habit that both of you will look forward to daily. Start off small and work your way up to longer walks, adding the odd sprint. Eventually, you’ll be able to incorporate games of fetch and other fun activities that won’t seem like exercise to either you or your four-legged friend.
5 – Stick To Your Guns Regardless Of What Your Peers May Tell You
Sure, everyone knows someone who has gone through the process of dealing with an overweight pet. While you may glean some interesting ideas from others around you, do yourself a favor and follow the guidelines you have found from food manufacturers, pet store clerks and your vet. These are going to be your most reliable sources and they are the ones who should know what works best in your specific situation. You don’t want your fur baby to contract a disease that results from their extra weight and you want them to live a long and happy life. By following proper nutrition and exercise routines, you’ll achieve this at a safe and controlled pace.
6 – Not Too Sure What The Ideal Weight Range Of Your Dog Is?
Oddly enough, no two breeds are the same when it comes to what is the ‘perfect’ weight. That is why you need to do some homework on the subject before you tackle it. In additional to what information your vet can provide, do some exploring online as well. There is a place worth checking out for this information. It is the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention. They have charts and data that can narrow down the ‘ideal’ weight range of your particular pooch. It will give you a target at the very least and you may discover that your dog may not be as overweight as you thought. Or it could be grossly overweight. You need to know this part first.
7 – You Can Still Provide Snacks But They Have To Be Healthy Ones
Your dog is still going to be in need of the odd snack between regular meals. That’s just the way it is. Humans are a lot like that as well. There is nothing wrong with offering snacks but be sure to reduce the size of them and to ensure that the snacks are actually healthy and good for your dog. Again, check with your local pet store and vet for suggestions. You can even make and bake healthy alternatives at home that will keep your best friend’s tail wagging as he or she loses weight.
The Same Equation For Humans Works For Pet Health As Well
You’ve probably heard that Diet + Exercise = Fitness. Well, the very same principle applies to your pet. A happy and healthy dog that eats well will be in good physical shape and full of energy. Plus, healthy dogs fight off disease and illness just like healthy humans do. So, to keep your best friend in the best possible condition, watch what you feed him or her and be sure that it gets a lot of exercise and play time!