Rethink Your Chubby Dog’s Diet

February 1, 2016

Did you know that as many as 53% of dogs in America are obese? Just like with us humans, the pounds creep up on Fido before you realize what’s happened. So…what are you doing to correct the problem? According to statistics published by Packaged Facts, 28% of dog owners say they buy pet food formulated to address obesity issues.

First of all, include your veterinary professional in your plans. Then you can plan your method of attacking Fido’s extra pounds. You’ll want to make sure every calorie you feed him counts. His food should contain no extra fillers that would contribute more pounds to the problem. Increased fiber, lower fat and lower calories overall are important considerations. Measure the amount of food you give your dog at each meal.  We keep a plastic, one-cup measuring cup in Maggie’s food container so that we know exactly the amount she receives. Through trial and error, we determined the amount that works best to keep Maggie’s weight down.  She’s an oversized Miniature English Bulldog with a tendency to get thick around the middle. But 1 cup of a premium dry food twice a day keeps her at an ideal weight, along with the right amount of exercise.

Many commercial pet food manufacturers made food designed to address weight issues.  Merrick sells a grain-free, healthy weight food for dogs. However, this food uses a combination of meat and plant proteins.  Spring Naturals produces Dry Dinners for dogs which has been certified gluten-free and diabetic friendly by the Glycemic Research Institute’s Pet Food Program. (“Pet Age,” July, 2015, page 88).  Wellness CORE and Royal Canin also produce foods designed for weight management.

An easier, and less expensive way to cut calories in dog food is to reduce the amount of his regular food and replace that amount with canned green beans.  There are virtually no calories in those green beans but they fill up Fido’s tummy.  When our Weimaraner, Gator, developed a weight problem, a veterinarian suggested that diet to us and it he lost the extra pounds in just a few weeks. Gator loved those green beans!

Be careful with treats between meals!  Those treats can add up before you know it and give your dog a few more pounds to worry about. Instead of purchasing commercial dog treats, feed your dog baby carrots for snacks. Maggie loves carrots and they contain virtually no calories.

Along with the changes in Fido’s diet, add an extra walk or two to his exercise program.  A ballgame in the back yard or park will also get him moving and burning calories.

As long as you are patient and steadfast in your resolve not to give your dog high-calorie food, table food or treats that would contribute to weight gain, your pup should quickly get back to his old svelte self.

 

 

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