During the holidays I spent most of my evenings under the table allowing all my little human nephews and nieces to sneak treats to me as they celebrated with all kinds of fatty goodies. Okay, maybe it wasn’t just during the holidays. I have a really awesome facial expression for begging and it has served me well; that is until I noticed my doggie coat had reached max capacity as my owner struggled to velcro it around my belly. Do you have any tips on how to shed unwanted pounds in a safe and healthy way?
Dear Bloated Basset,
I feel your pain. I, myself, have had my own struggle with being too cute for my humans to deny me treats that my waistline clearly did not need. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, approximately 54% of dogs suffer from obesity. Have no fear in the New Year, for Murphy is here to impart some advice on how your humans can help you reach a healthy goal weight!
- Have your human set a reasonable weight loss goal, preferably with the help of a vet.
- Portion control is important. Food often comes with a suggested serving amount on the side of the package. To lose weight, you should be eating on the lower end of that scale.
- Dry food should be reduced in favor of more fresh protein, carbohydrates, fat. Whole foods are more energetically useful than dehydrated dry food. Steamed or pureed vegetables like carrots are good alternatives for balancing a meal.
- Your humans should keep you on a strict feeding schedule and not leave kibble out all day for you to binge eat when you are bored. It’s fun, I know, but not productive.
- Exercise, Exercise, Exercise! Park play and daily brisk walks are good ways for both you and your human to keep in shape! The PPET (People and Pets Exercise Together) Study showed that humans who exercised with their dog were more likely to stick with their own workout plan as opposed to those who exercised sans dog.
- This pains me to say this to you; but you’re going to have to cut out the treats for a bit and limit how much you receive moving forward. Treats should only be about 10% of your daily calorie intake.
- Healthy treats like carrots or apples can and should be used for interactive toy play. Toys that dispense yummy treats always keep me moving!
Make sure your humans are monitoring your progress either weekly or bi-weekly and try to let them know if they are a little too extreme. This is a process and shouldn’t be treated as something that can be regulated without overworking or under feeding. It can also be really fun to have extra play time and games that keep you moving!