Did you know that as little as 5 extra pounds can put your pup's health at risk?
Before beginning ANY weight-loss regimen, have your dog checked out by a veterinarian. There are many medical reasons that your pet could be gaining weight, even if they are already on a restricted diet, including Hypothyroidism (low thyroid level) and Hyperadrenocorticism (Cushing's Disease). Both of these medical conditions can be diagnosed with blood-work done by your veterinarian.
Use caution when decreasing your dog's amount of daily food. Just like humans, having too little calories during the day can have serious consequences. Safe weight loss should be 3-5% of the body weight per month, but your veterinarian can dictate exactly how much is safe and should be lost based on their current and ideal weights.
Low-calorie diets are also a good option when trying to get your pet to slim down. Follow the suggested feeding chart on the back for "ideal weight" based on your veterinarian's recommendation and make sure you do a gradual switch of your dog's diet to avoid any gastrointestinal issues.
How to correctly change your pet’s food:
- Should be done gradually over a minimum of 1 week
- Initially, offer ¼ diet food and ¾ regular food for 2 days
- Next; ½ diet food and ½ regular food for another 2 days
- Then ¾ diet food and ¼ regular food for 2-3 days
- Finally, offer diet food only
- Ways to increase palatability (yumminess)
- Warm their food up! You can soak it in warm water or pop in the microwave for a few seconds if it’s wet food
- You can also add Fish Oil, which will not only make the food more palatable, but it will give your pup a shiny coat!
- Have some fun! Set aside playtime with your pup for 10-15 minutes twice a day
- Average dog walk is done at 20-25 minutes/mile with numerous stops
- Walking for weight-loss should be brisk! Ideally at 12-15 minutes/mile. Especially on the “out” part, only allow stops on the return home if possible
- Ideally, you should break out into a light sweat
- Dogs are built to reach top-speed quickly and without risking injury, so warm-ups aren’t needed! And besides, most people aren’t aiming for an all-out sprint when walking Fluffy
- Keep the leash close—only 2-4 feet from your body and start off at a brisk pace!
- Don’t stop! Keep that pup moving! Use lots of encouragement!
- If your doggy refuses to walk, return home and place him/her in a quiet space--somewhere where they’d be without your attention--and try again later