According to the latest veterinary report, over half of the household dog and cat population are overweight. This means that over half of the dogs are at the risk of developing weight related and life-threatening health conditions in their lifetime – like arthritis, heart conditions, high blood pressure, kidney failures, diabetes and even some forms of cancer.
Obesity is caused due to an imbalance between the calorie intake and calorie expenditure. Some dogs have a clinical condition that is leading to obesity and they need medical intervention to overcome this problem. For all the other dogs, the main cause of obesity is the type and amount of dog food that they eat. So, It’s important to monitor your pet’s weight, Read these 9 crucial tips for dog weight lose.
Tips to Reduce Weight in Dogs
1. Calculate Calories
It is important that you know how many calories your pet needs in a day. Unless you are aware of that you will not be able to feed your pet correctly.
In case you are feeding your dog a dry dog food, do not go by the feeding guide listed at the back of the dry dog food bag. The feeding guide is designed for adult, un-spayed, active dogs who go for regular treks, hikes and very long walks. This kind of activity is generally not possible in city dwelling pets.
If you have a senior dog, who is spayed and spends most of the time indoors, you will be required to feed 20-30% less than what is listed at the back of the dry dog food bag. Even for dogs who spend most of their time indoors, the feeding guide needs to be adjusted accordingly. Ask you vet or consult a Certified Canine Nutritionist to find the exact calorific requirement of your dog.
As a thumb rule for calculating the Resting Energy Requirement (RER) in Dogs you need to follow the formula
RER = 70 x (weight in kg)^0.75
Maintenance Energy Requirement (MER)
The multiplier differs from dog to dog depending on their age and activity levels. A Canine Nutritionist is best to guide you about the right Multiplier that you should use to know calculate the right calorie requirement of your dog in a day that will help your dog lose weight.
2. Measure Meals
One of the biggest reasons for the weight gain in the pet community is guess work by pet parents. If you are feeding your dog a dry dog food then a measuring cup is a must have equipment. Too many pet parents simply use their guesswork while pouring out the dog food into their doggy’s bowl and that can cause overfeeding.
The Association of Pet Obesity Prevention have done studies to prove that even an excess of 10 extra kibble per day in your furry’s bowl can add up to a pound of extra body weight on your furry.
If your furry is on a customised fresh dog food plan like Furr Meals Fresh Dog Food then the problem of measuring meals is solved as your will receive meal size packs thereby making it even more convenient and accurate to feed your furry the right meal size.
3. Change the Diet
Reports have shown that obesity in dogs is most common in dogs who are on a dry dog food diet or on a homebased diet that is designed and prepared by pet parents themselves. Dry dog food are loaded with carbohydrates and lead to excess weight in dogs.
A fresh dog food diet is considered better than the dry dog food. But when pet parents start making diet plans on their own, without adequate knowledge of canine nutrition, they end up harming their pet more than helping them in their weight loss journey.
Choose custom designed diet plans like FurrMeals Weight Management Plan that help your dog systematically lose extra weight through natural, high protein, low carbohydrate diets and portion control.
4. Increase Exercise
Every dog has a particular physical exercise that they love the most. In could be a game of fetch, a swim in the pool, long hikes or jumping hurdles. As you notice a gain of weight in your furry, its time to encourage more of the physical activity they love.
If your couch potato does now show an interest in intense activities, then start small. Walking is the easiest and safest way for your dog to stay active. For dogs even a 30-minute walk daily helps to build immunity, improve heart health and also reduce behavioural issues.
For obese dogs start with a small goal of 20 minutes of exercise every day. If your dog cannot manage 20 minutes in a stretch, take small multiple walks in a day. Look for cues when your furry is ready to stop. The aim is to get at least 20-30 minutes of walk in a day by the end of second week. As you dog gets stronger and leaner, increase the exercise time to the reach the breed specific exercise requirement.
Swimming is a fantastic exercise for overweight dogs as it is low impact and also protects the joints while at the same time gives a full body exercise.
5. Limit Treats
Treats are the junk food in your dog’s life. They might look tiny but too many commercial dog treats are sugar and fat laden calorie bombs that go straight to their waistline and are harmful even for dogs.
If you do want to give your dog some treats then stick to natural and safe treats like carrot sticks, oven roasted sweet potato bits or functional treats that help in teeth cleaning. If you do want to give your dog commercial treat then make a daily treat box after counting the calories in it and every family member can dig into the box for treats for your furry for the day.
Whatever treat you are giving to your dog are adding extra calorie to your furry’s weight management dog food plan of the day. Count the calories in the treat and make sure to limit it no to more than 10% of the daily calorie requirement of your furry.
6. Cut Down on Carbs
Wrong diet is the primary cause of excess weight in pets. Most pet dogs are fed a high-carbohydrate dry dog food diet instead of a fresh protein rich diet. If you know how to analyse dog food labels, you would know that most of the commercial dog food contain more than 60% carbohydrates.
A healthy dog food should have the right balance of bio-available protein and carbohydrate. A weight loss dog food, on the other hand, is high in protein and low in carbohydrates.
A fresh dog food diet is the best way to lose weight. Fresh dog food like FurrMeals Fresh Dog Food is high in protein, low in carbohydrate and has a high moisture content, making your furry feel fuller faster.
7. Rule out other Food Sources
Dogs are scavengers and given a chance they will get into their dog food bag on their own or dig into the dustbin to eat the leftover crust of the pizza. A Weight Management Plan can only be successful if all such sources are removed.
Make sure that every family member is on board and understand that your furry is on a weight loss journey. No table scraps should be served to dogs who are on a weight management program.
8. Use Non-Food Rewards for Training
Even though your furry loves a tasty snack, but there are other ways to reward your dog and show your love. Verbal praises, belly rubs, head scratches and even a 10 minute high intensity play time with their favourite toy are equally good tools to reward your furry.
Even when you do need to use food as reward for your furry, look for low calorie low carbohydrate treat options like fresh vegetables sticks, fresh meat-based treats and frozen fruit cubes. Make sure that all treats that you give in a day do not make up more than 10% of the daily calorie requirement of your dog.
9. Supplement Wisely
Not all dogs need the help of supplements to lose weight. Most dogs will show a positive change in their weight my following the above steps. However, some natural supplements will help begin the weight loss journey and you might consider using them to make the process easier and faster.
Some overweight and senior dogs might have difficulty in exercising due to joint inflammations. Glucosamine and Chondroitin supplements will make it easier for them to exercise by improving joint health and mobility. Bone Broth is an excellent way to introduce these in your furry’s diet plan naturally.
Almost every pet benefits from taking a daily dose of Fish Oil which is packed with anti-oxidants and omega-3 fatty acids which are proven to prevent numerous diseases. Studies have shown that Fish Oil also helps to ease joint pains and encourage healthy weight loss.
L-carnitine is an amino acid that is shown to promote lean muscle mass and aid weight loss. It is found naturally in red meat, fish and poultry. You can also buy L-carnitine supplements and add it to your furry’s dog food bowl.
Pet Obesity is a widespread epidemic. Overweight pets have poor quality of life and have shorter life span. So, when the excess weight is such a huge cause of concern, it is important to take corrective action as soon as you notice the weight going off the charts.
Your dog does not go to the market to buy food for themselves nor do they pour out food into his bowl on its own. It is us pet parents who are doing the task for them. Therefore, it is our responsibility as pet parents to make sure that we make correct dog food choices, feed them the correct serving size and give the right amount of exercise.
A fresh dog food diet like FurrMeals Fresh Dog Food, which is perfectly balanced with the right amount of proteins and fats, and has the right amount of vitamin and mineral rich veggies is any day better than dry and dehydrated kibble diet.
Even if your fur baby has put on a bit of weight, remember that today is as good as any other day to start a positive change in your furry’s life. By using these simple suggestions, you would very soon be on your way to a healthier and happier pet.