Dogs, like people, tend to gain a little weight as they get older. While this is mostly fine for us humans, as a pound or two isn’t too bad of a difference, for dogs, gaining a pound or two is a much larger percentage of overall bodyweight, and can come with more severe consequences, particularly for dogs that are already prone to health problems, such as hip issues. Keeping your dog at a healthy weight can be difficult—especially if your pet is a pro at puppy dog eyes, which we all know are hard to resist. For an easier time slimming your dog down, check out our tips.
Cut Back on Food
It may seem like a no-brainer, but cutting back on your dog’s food is the easiest way to help them lose weight. Of course, you don’t have to go to extremes. If you feed them dry food, reduce the amount by a few tablespoons at each meal. Similar to how we humans can lose weight by simply reducing calories a little bit each day, dogs will slim down naturally by feeding them just a little bit less than they are used to. Switching their traditional treats to things like vegetables like carrots or green beans can help them feel like they’re still getting treats, but with fewer calories than traditional dog bones or treats. If you want to lower the amount of dog food they are eating without making them feel hungry, adding a few tablespoons back of things like frozen peas can help satiate them, also.
If you don’t have much extra time in your day to go on extra walks, you can help supplement the amount of exercise your dog gets by playing fetch inside. If you have a long hallway, throw a ball down the length and play with your dog until he or she gets tired. Alternatively, find a toy they like playing tug of war with and play tug of war with them for a while. Any extra physical activity, even if it’s just a few minutes, will help them slim down and get into better shape. Remember that their needs are less than what we might need to lose weight—a five-minute run around the house is similar to us running a mile or two.
Bring Them to a Dog Park or Daycare
Going to the gym is always more enjoyable with a buddy and the same idea applies to Fido. Consider hiring a dog walker to come in a few times a week to help ramp up their physical activity. The added exercise will have your pooch looking trim in no time. You can also drop your dog off at a doggie daycare facility or bring them to a dog park where multiple dogs are playing, as this will help them with socialization while they get some exercise in. Running around and playing with other animals will get their heart rate going and help them get in shape.
If you need help learning how to get your dog to a healthier weight, you can also talk to your vet—they may be able to advise you on what types of foods are better for animals who are overweight.
How did you help your dog lose weight? Let us know about it!