You’ve tried doggie diets. You’ve tried asking pet psychologists how to help your dog lose weight. You’ve even tried explaining canine nutrition in exhaustive detail to your animal, but for some reason, he just won’t listen.
Now you’re completely stumped. If the lettuce wraps don’t help, you’ve no idea how to help your dog lose weight. Maybe yoga?
Ok, it’s time to take a deep breath. First, recognize that your dog isn’t human. It doesn’t matter whether you consider it part of your family, it’s still a canine.
Second, consider the possibility that if you really want your pet to lose weight it may take some training. No, not training for your dog, training for you.
Owning a pet isn’t an intuitive process. Or rather, it’s an intuitive process until your pet runs into problems.
Put away your yoga pants and get out your thinking cap. You’re about to get an education in canine weight loss. Read on.
How to Help Your Dog Lose Weight 101
Your dog is much like a toddler. It’ll eat or play with whatever you put in front of it. And much to your delight or aggravation, sometimes it’ll do both at the same time.
Unlike a toddler, your pet will never learn self-control. Sure, it may listen to you and do what you tell it. But it’ll never perform behaviors simply because it feels it’s the right thing to do.
Instead, they live by instinct. From moment to moment, they act on their instincts.
When they’re hungry they eat. When they’re tired, they sleep. When they’re feeling frisky, they mate.
They don’t worry about whether that extra serving of turkey is going to add an extra inch to their waists. They live in the moment which is arguably one of their best qualities. That’s why, if you want your pet to lose a few pounds, it’s up to you to intervene.
Yep, you’re going to have to embody a dominant parent attitude. The hardest part about it is that animals know when you’re faking it. They pick up on our scents and body language.
So next time your pet looks at you with its head tilted and those big puppy-dog eyes, remember who’s in charge. Remember, this is as much about your training as your pet’s
Stop Overfeeding Your Dog
Your pooch doesn’t need to be one of the Hollywood stars’ pets to get proper nutrition. You can give your canine all the fats, carbohydrates, and amino acids it needs. And you can do it without breaking your bank.
Dog nutrition tips from veterinary experts suggest that canine obesity often comes from simply overfeeding your dog. Some dogs will stop eating when they’re full. Most won’t stop until their dish is empty.
Feed Your Dog More Protein
Dogs thrive on high-protein diets. Like their wolf ancestors, they’re built to live off of meat they kill. Your lettuce wrap alternatives just won’t cut it.
Protein builds muscle. Carbohydrates, on the other hand, tend to get stored in fat cells. That’s especially true if your animal doesn’t get much exercise.
The ideal doggie weight-loss diet consists of high protein content, moderate fat content, and low carbohydrate content.
Feed Your Dog the Right Fats
Omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) promote weight loss in dogs. You can find such acids in oils from salmon, trout, or cod. Most pet owners prefer to purchase it in prepackaged fish oil products, such as cod liver oil or fish oil caplets.
Keep in mind that fish oil is pure fat. If you add it to your pet’s diet, consider removing one of its other sources of fat. Fish oil can have over 40 calories per teaspoon.
Determine the Right Portion Size
As long as you avoid dangerous foods for dogs, it’s hard to screw up your pet’s dinner. Or is it?
Sure, what you feed your pet is important. But the quantity of food you feed your pet is just as important. That’s especially true if you’re pooch is trying to lose weight, so she can fit into that new dress she bought.
All joking aside, portion size is paramount to your dog’s dieting success. If you don’t know what portion is right for your dog, you need to speak with your vet. She can determine which category your pet falls under and whether it’s a special case.
Then it’s up to you to follow that plan. That means you measure every particle of food, including snacks and treats.
Don’t feed your pet from your plate during your mealtimes. Not only is it impossible to determine how much you fed your dog, but it also reinforces your dog’s begging behaviors. Make sure other members of your household follow the same rules.
Remember, it’s as much about teaching you as it is about teaching your pet.
Give Your Dog Tasty but Healthy Treats
Some dog owners are still guilty of feeding their pet’s food filled with the 4 worst dog food ingredients. Others source every calorie that goes into their pet’s body. Fortunately, you can get away with landing somewhere in the middle of the two.
When it comes to helping your pooch lose a few pounds, avoid all snacks high in fat. Yes, that includes things like peanut butter and hot dogs. It also includes quite a few treats that you’ll find on the isles at Pet Smart.
Do your homework. If those store-bought snacks are high in fat, choose alternatives like baby carrots or string beans. You can also try things such as organ meats, like heart or liver that you can purchase from your local butcher.
Exercise Your Dog
Stop rolling your eyes. Of course your pet needs exercise. Even tiny dogs which fit in your purse can trace their ancestry back to free-ranging wolves.
It’s in their DNA.
There are two parts to any dieting equation: (1) how many calories you intake, and (2) how many calories you burn. When you intake fewer calories than you burn, your body needs extra calories. It gets these by raiding your fat cells.
If you want your pet to lose weight, be sure you work on both sides of the equation. It’ll make you and your pet happier and healthier.
Now that you know how to help your dog lose weight, it’s time to start implementing what you learned. Speak with your vet to make sure you’re on the right track with the diet. Also, ask for tips on how you can be a better pet owner. You never know what you might learn.
If you found this article insightful, skip over to our broad library of helpful dog healthcare articles. So long and good luck!