Food does not equal love!
Make sure your dog is on age appropriate food. Puppy food has a higher nutrient content for weight gain. Make sure you’re keeping them on it for the right amount of time! Bigger breeds will take longer to reach adult size so will need to be on puppy food for longer. For all breeds, make sure you swap to a teen food, or an adult one, then a senior one as recommended.
Aim for slow and steady, not a crash diet. If your dog needs to lose 10 kilos, know it will take some time. We need to avoid causing deficiencies in vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.
Supplements. A daily omega-3 fatty acid supplement has been shown to help lose weight and promote lean muscle – however these are fatty acids, and can cause weight gain in some conditions. Check with your vet in case your dog has underlying health issues that can be exacerbated by certain supplements.
They might need a special diet. There are weight reduction specific foods that can aid in weight loss, and can be prescribed by a vet. Many of these are specifically designed so the animal feels fuller for longer on fewer calories.
Keep them moving. Make sure they’re getting appropriate exercise. To start with have shorter but frequent walks, 3 x 10 minutes is better than 1 x 30 minutes. You can build up the time they exercise for, but just like with humans, if you start with too much you can cause an injury.
Measure your dog’s food. This is important to ensure they’re getting what they are supposed to have. If you portion it out every day, anyone feeding them knows what they can have, and there’ll be no accidental double feeds!
Set aside a portion of their meal to use as treats rather than give them treats on top of their meal. You can ensure you’re not over feeding them by keeping track of what they get. In my house everyone gets the sad puppy eyes, but this way everyone can see how much is left for the day.
Choose high nutrient, low calorie treats. Try veggies. My Linka will eat carrot any way, shape, or form – Bosco won’t touch carrot unless it’s cut into sticks, slices, or is cooked. Have some healthy snacks prepared so they don’t guilt you into sharing half a packet of chips with them.
Swap out treats for praise, attention, and playtime. Dogs love attention and knowing they are loved. Find out what gets them excited. Food is not the only motivator!
Bodywork therapies. If your animal is in pain BEFORE they start exercising, it can look like the exercise is the cause. Getting rid of the pain can make exercise easier and more effective. Finding a gentle, non invasive, drug free way to manage pain was life changing for us. Now I’m helping others do it too!
Find out an appropriate weight from your vet, and ensure there is not an underlying health issue causing the weight gain. I can treat them at any size, but a healthy weight will keep them healthier for longer!
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Canine Mobility Specialist