Does your dog need to lose a few pounds?
While www.topdogapparel.co.uk can help your dog look well dressed, fine collared and stylish, perhaps ready for the catwalk (sorry, bad pun) it may be that, like many humans and over 35% of the dogs in the UK, he or she would benefit from losing the roll of cuddly fat around their waists. If so, these tips will help you.
Your dog might not need quite so much food as you’re giving them, if it’s above the recommended amounts. You can’t always tell that a dog is being unwisely fed by weighing and checking charts, body shape and fat mass are better indicators.
Dogs fed on human food are more prone to being overweight too.
By overfeeding your dog you could, through acts of love and indulgence, cause health problems for them later in life. Load bearing on hips can be tricky when overweight and the illnesses that affect humans can trouble dogs as well.
Your vet will be able to counsel you about any issues during a visit but prevention is better than cure.
Resist the pleading peepers!
We’ve all done it, looked in to those beautiful soulful eyes and seen the unrelenting “I’m hungry” pleading gaze that we couldn’t resist and before we could stop ourselves we’ve helped our treasured, and clever, dogs to snack between meals.
Dogs are natural scavengers so they will always be on the quest for food, they’ve also learned that we’re susceptible to their cute ways and they exploit them without mercy so although they might look as though “butter wouldn’t melt” they know what they’re doing, so play them at their own game and distract them with activity.
Try not to be strict one day and lax the next, this is known as variable reinforcement and does neither the owner nor the dog any good in breaking the habit.
Keep a food diary
We know, it seems like the food police are in control, but if you think you do or might overfeed them then keeping a food diary is a great way to keep an eye on a dog’s diet. Just think, if you have to write down each and every morsel of food or portion weights you’ll soon find it easier to revert to professional guidelines that leave you free for other activities and not writing “guilt” reports. You’ll need to ensure that everyone around your dog plays by the rules.
You don’t have to reward everything with a treat, honest
Although you may have become comfortable with the food treat regime, a hug, attention and fun time work just as well and your beloved will still know that they are prised in a household of funny humans! If you feel compelled to offer a food treat, think about a small piece of fruit or vegetable for them.
Another reward could be any number of the clothes, beds, collars etc. that we carry so you can restock their wardrobe and home with gorgeous, feel good factor items that the whole family will enjoy.
Stop your dog “hoovering”
Like point one, this is another big no! If you have children or other messy human eaters in the home then your dog will be pouncing on those crumbs faster than lightening so you’ll need to stop them quickly. You don’t want to give the impression that they can eat from the worktop by feeding them from the table and you don’t want to feed them from the table so they feast on crumbs. One thing leads to another.
Does your vet have a weight clinic?
We have famous diets and weight control advocates and your pet has one too, your vet. While dogs might back peddle every time that they see the dreaded vet and look accusingly at you, if you both have to be answerable to a weight boss during a check-up and use special food with preset quantities this reins you in. A lot of the clinics are free so why not investigate?
Just giving your pet attention that makes them move around means that he or she will burn some calories and fat so you could use one of their favourite toys to get them running up and down the lounge, make them hunt for toys behind or under furniture or in a buster tube, throw a ball in the garden or the obvious one, take them for a walk, or as is usually the case, let them take you for a dash-walk! These are all treats but they are friendly to waistlines. They can also be used as distraction techniques when dogs are asking for chomping treats. You’re looking to lose about 1% of their body weight a week so it all helps.
Exercise alone is not enough and vice versa
Like humans after a gym session, we could convince ourselves that any physical exertion should be rewarded with food. You know the “I’ll have a burger on the way home from the gym” trick? But an unhealthy diet is counter productive to any energy outlay. Don’t burn some dog calories and then spoil it or poor lovely pooch will never be a lean mean licking machine!
It’s a combination effort, as it is for us humans when trying to lose pounds.
Train them, right from day one
A podgy puppy often becomes a chubby chap so try to get the good habits inured quickly rather than making it a case of re-education later on.
Weight loss pills
The absolute last resort and hopefully it won’t be necessary for most cases. A vet can prescribe medication but this is only viable for a short time if there is a medical need for it. Lifestyle changes will still be required, and a vet can adjust diet to calorie burning levels so this should be the way forward.
Bonus tip – Make diet and exercise fun for you and your faithful dog!