Saturday, September 13, 2014

3 Easy Steps for Putting Your Dog on a Diet

I had to put my Cocker Spaniel on a diet when he started to gain too much weight. Carrying extra weight is an issue for dogs just as it is with people. It puts added pressure on their joints and can cause diabetes. If you look down at your dog and notice a bulge in the middle it's time to put your dog on a diet.

Get a Veterinary Check-Up

When I noticed the weight gain in my GSD I went to the veterinary office first. A sudden weight gain could be anything, so have your pet checked out. If the weight gain is gradual and you've noticed it but now need to really address the issue, ask your vet for recommendations on dog food for overweight dogs. To make it easier on the dog's system gradually add the new food to the old (a little more of the new each day), when switching brands or flavors.

Buy Quality Dog Food

Store brand dog food is full of fatty fillers and are not cheaper than premium brands. Choose a dog food with meat as the first ingredient and feed the dog exactly as the package recommends. It may seem like a small amount of food for your dog, but it's all they need. The dog will actually use more of the food nutrients, have smaller or fewer bowel movements, and will often have more energy when eating premium dog food.

Cut Out the Dog Treats

It's hard to not give our dogs treats. Especially if they do tricks or we are in a training session and the dog is food motivated. You don't have to cut out the treats completely. I use hot dog pieces to train my GSD to do tricks. I learned to cut them into tiny pieces and sometimes just touch the food then offer my hand. She really only wants me to acknowledge that she did what I wanted. She doesn't care if it's food or love once we get started.

Let everyone in the house know that the dog is on a diet and only one person will be feeding the pet. Make sure everyone understands that this is for the health of the dog and there should be no sneaking food or scraps to the dog. Combine a premium diet with more exercise and your dog will live a healthier life.

Photo credit: Christine Cameron

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