The holidays are once again upon us, which means sweets, treats and lots to eat! But with great food comes great responsibility, and we need to keep an eye out for our furry friends as well.
We humans know that our ideal diets are based on nutritional norms, times of day that we’re eating (or shouldn’t!), treating ourselves, exercise…and above all, patterns. The more time we schedule for physical activity or a healthy meal, the better we feel, and the same goes for our four-legged companions.
Maybe your dog is already a little on the heavy side, and you know that she or he needs to shed a few pounds. Or perhaps your pooch is still svelte but you want to avoid future weight concerns and establish a healthy diet, sooner rather than later. Whatever the situation, a few key tips should help you keep Fido fit, well fed, and fabulous.
1. Do count calories.
You’ve probably noticed the feeding guide on the back of your dog’s food package. It’s a starting point only. If your dog is spayed or neutered, then be sure to decrease the recommended amount by 25%.
2. Don’t cut corners.
Ever just ‘eyeball’ 25%? We all do! But notice, if you’re hand-measuring your dog’s food and an average cup of adult dog food is 400 calories, being off just a ¼ cup would mean you’ve delivered an extra 100 calories! We recommend designating a measuring cup that stays in the food container. If in doubt…measure it out!
3. Treat yourselves!
Does your dog have a long-term chew for dental health? Maybe a favorite biscuit for when you go to work or get back? Any extra treats for training these days? All of these add up, and all calories, do in fact, count!
But you don’t need to change everything, maybe just a few patterns, and perhaps a few of the treats themselves! Dogs love protein-rich and low-starch veggies like green beans and cucumbers—make it into a reward or a rewarding snack to help take the ‘edge’ off until mealtime.
We know it, and our furry friends know it too. Nothing says feeling great and feeling fit like a brisk walk around the block or stroll in the autumn woods.
If your pup is a little on the heavy side, make sure that losing weight doesn’t happen too fast. The ideal rate of loss is around 5% per month of current body weight, and no more than 10%.
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