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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Woofing Weight Watchers:
A Few Tips for Fido's Figure

by Carrie Boyko, CEB
© All Things Dog Blog
Race Your Dog!
Our favorite American pastime seems to be contagious among our pets as well. Eating is intended to be an act of sustenance, but has become one of affection. In reality, truly loving your dog means stopping the treats after training time. Following are a few other tips, that when combined, can lead to waistline whittling and a healthier Fido:

  • Before changing your dog's daily diet or activity, be sure to consult his veterinarian regarding his ability to add activity or change foods. With approval from your vet, you may try some or all of the ideas below.
  • First and foremost, add a few minutes each day to your dog's walk and continue this uptick as much as possible. Increase it further on weekends or vacations. Do keep in mind your dog's advancing age or disabilities when increasing his activity level.
  • Add new and different methods of exercise to use additional muscles and brain power that burn calories: mentally-stimulating games, agility classes, dog park visits, swimming, biking, Fetch and more. Look for a list of additional ideas to change up your exercise routine at the bottom of this post.
  • Select a high quality, weight management food. When cutting calories, it increasingly important to make sure all the needed vitamins and minerals are present. Make sure the bag indicates it is AAFCO approved. We like Organix Weight Management, by Castor and Pollux Petworks, which provides a minimum of 70% organic ingredients, assuring more of a chemical-free, healthier source of U.S. produced meats, fruits and vegetables, and sold in an Eco-friendly No. 2 recyclable bag. Locate a store near you at this link.
  • Read the feeding guidelines carefully, realizing that most offer a daily serving range. You'll have to gauge where to start in that range by your dog's current activity level and food consumption.
  • Splitting up your dog's daily feeding into 2 or even 3 meals a day, when possible, is helpful in staving off hunger pangs in dogs, just as it is with people.
  • Be certain to follow transition guidelines when switching foods so as not to upset the delicate balance in your dog's tummy. You want this switch to go smoothly for his digestive system.
  • Substitute a small amount of your dog's kibble with fresh, organic green beans. This is, by far, the most nutritious, low-calorie filler you can give him, and most dogs love this addition to their diet. Green beans provide added B vitamins that are essential to good health.
  • A second and less frequent supplement may be a small serving of baked organic sweet potato, which adds extra fiber and Beta Carotene.
  • Still feel the need to offer daily treats? Try lower calorie ones like frozen broth bombs. Organic chicken, turkey or beef broth frozen in ice cube trays is a delightful Summer treat! 
Need help determining if your dog's weight is normal or not? Three simple guidelines are:
  1. Look down at your dog's backbone. Do you see an indentation at the waist area? Is Fido's tummy tucked in on the bottom? If so, these are good signs.
  2. Now feel Fido's ribs. If you can differentiate between them, he's probably sporting a comfortable weight.
  3. Finally, ask your veterinarian's opinion. Some breeds tend to gain weight in spotty areas and may need expert observation. If you think your dog has a pot belly or too full of a chest, get him examined to find out for sure. Your best friend is worth this extra effort. 
Canine obesity is quickly rivaling our human problem in this area. Yet it doesn't have to be that way. Because you have total control over your dog's diet, you can help him slim down to a healthier, happier hound. Good luck!

The links at the bottom of this post are part of the Blog the Change for Animals Blog Hop, a quarterly posting by pet bloggers with causes they wish to inform and educate on. Enjoy the hop!

Change up your exercise routine with some of these ideas:



Sara Grace said...

Great tips!!

Anonymous said...

Hey it's Jet here. Hi Miss Carrie. Thanks. People make fun of Mom all the time for not giving us lots of extra food, "junk food", and more than the recommended amount of kibble. Dr. Schaffer tells Mom we're healthy, so, ignore those other people! That Woof Watchers looks like fun... can't wait to go swimming.

Yoda_the_Dog said...

Since mom and dad are both "hefty" they are nearly compulsive about keeping pet family members svelte. Thanks for the great tips.

BtC4animals said...

I'm always so sad for overweight animals since pet weight is 100% human controlled. I love your tips for keeping them trim and in tip top shape. From personal experience, feeling how Shamus' ribs should feel with all that fur in the way is a challenge so I've found a way around it. We just use the vet's scale monthly and take out the guess work. And he loves the car ride, to boot!

Thanks for Blogging the Change for animal health!

Kim Clune

Pup Fan said...

Great post and very handy tips!

KimT said... many great tips and suggestions - our furry friends' health is too important to not pay close attention to. Thanks for all the fantastic info!!

Donna and the Dogs said...

This is a wonderful post - Keeping a healthy weight is one of the best things we can do for our four legged friend's health (and our own.)

Kingslandkennels said...

Nice blog, thanks for the info...

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