Keeping your dog at a healthy weight can be challenging. Resisting an adorable begging face is the first obstacle; actually understanding how to appropriately portion their meals and carefully monitor weight loss is the second.
For those canines with a little extra to love, here is what you can do to help your dog lose a few lbs.
1. Determine the appropriate servings to gradually lose weight- and measure them carefully.
The first thing to do- and perhaps the most difficult- is determine how to appropriately cut down your dog’s portions at every meal. You’ll likely want to consult with your vet on what your dog’s ideal weight for their breed and age is, and begin reducing their caloric-intake daily to achieve this target weight. (NomNomNow customers: enter your online profile, and update the target weight section. Our team will automatically put your dog on a weight loss program, and gradually reduce calories each week. You don’t have to measure anything out, as we’ll package your meals for you.)
Once you determine the appropriate amount to feed- stick to it! You’ll want to come up with a consistent way to measure each meal, and make sure that you’re accurately measuring these determined portions.
2. Treats are okay- in moderation.
While counting calories and intake at your dog’s meals may be one thing, treats can quickly throw a weight loss program off balance– not too different from within our own diets! Treats should be factored into your dog’s daily intake, and measured in the same way. For healthy, low-impact treats that your dog will love, try baby carrots, green beans, celery, cucumbers, sliced apples, or even ice cubes.
Puzzle toys that make your dog work for the treat are also a great addition to any weight loss plan, as they make treats last longer and physically engage your dog with each reward.
3. Exercise is key.
None of these concepts are too different from how humans lose weight. Eating healthy and working out are two crucial aspects of shedding excess weight, and combining the two will lead to quicker results. For dogs that play well with others, taking your dog to a dog park can be a great way to blow off some energy, and work up a sweat at the same time. If you’re a runner and can bring your dog along, even better! Just make sure to gradually increase the workouts if your dog isn’t typically as active.
4. Rely on healthy supplements.
Getting all of the essential vitamins and minerals is key, especially when calories at meals will be reduced. For dog owners feeding store-bought food, this is something you’ll want to consult with your vet about. Will reducing their caloric intake in any way lead to a lack of some nutrient? If so, supplementing will come in handy. Plus, healthy supplements such as fish oil can actually aid in weight loss, and keep your dog healthy with the right kinds of calories and fats.
Getting the right balance of vitamins and nutrients will also keep your dog satisfied, which will make the portion reduction easier. (NomNomNow customers: Our NomNomNutrient Mix is formulated for healthy weight loss plans, and our vet will adapt your dog’s meals based on the information in your dog profile).
5. Keep track!
Last but not least…Keep track of your dog’s progress! Weigh them and monitor their energy and fitness level. If they’re looking great and moving easier, then you’re on the right track, but you’ll also want to pay attention to actual weight changes. Noting these over time is an essential way to measure if your dog’s weight loss plan is working. If you find that nothing is really changing, you’ll want to re-evaluate with your vet. Once your dog does reach their goal weight, make sure to be consistent with the established caloric intake for a dog of that weight and size, and keep up the good work!
Want to learn more about how to tell if your dog is at a healthy weight? Hear from our veterinary nutritionist Dr. Justin Shmalberg. To put your dog on a healthy weight-loss plan, you can order perfectly portioned meals on our site here.