Like human weight loss, there is no 7-minute abs formula that tells you how to help my dog lose weight.
There are daily changes that make a huge difference. These changes come in the form of small tips and tricks to improve your lifestyle. So what are these tips?
Glad you asked, here are 7 Can’t-Miss Tips to Help your Dog Lose Weight.
Calorie counting can be a little trickier in dogs as we rely on what’s displayed in a bag of questionable dog food.
What many dog owners fail to realize is that the standard feeding ranges in a standard bag of kibble are generally broad. If your dog’s energy levels are low (as a result of neutered) you’re likely already overfeeding them by 20-30%.
The ideal caloric intake varies but a good rule of thumb is a formula created by the University of Ohio’s veterinary medical center. The formula is known as Resting Energy Requirement (RER).
By taking your dog’s current weight in kilograms, multiply that by 30, and adding 70. You’ll have an estimate of how many calories your dog needs.
Robby for instance weighs roughly 30kg (65 lbs). So the formula for his caloric intake looks like this:
30 * 30 + 70 = 910 calories per day
Here’s the basic calorie calculation.
Food intake accounts for a larger part of weight loss than good ol’ fashioned exercise does. Yet, studies show that an active pup isn’t just healthier, they’re also happier, and mentally stimulated.
By exercise, we don’t mean these hikes that some of the fitness buffs on Instagram seem to go on every day (do these people even work?) but daily walks are ideal.
We can’t tell you exactly how many miles because that depends on pre-existing medical conditions. Conditions such as age, size, etc. But we can say that an hour a day is a good target to hit.
We don’t want you going ham but if you’re already on these daily walks and fail to see changes, try to up the ante by about 10%
Green is Good
I for one wasn’t a fan of veggies until my adult life. It wasn’t until I hit 30 that I realized that extra pickles on my jr Bacon Cheeseburger weren’t going to help me.
Instead of feeding your pooch these store-bought treats because they’re convenient. Have their in-between snacks be delicious veggies. Baby carrots, green beans, broccoli, and cucumbers are fantastic snack options for dogs and the best part is, no labels.
Check out our complete lists of the best fruits and veggies for dogs. Throw out the flatulence-inducing slim jim and replace it with green apple tidbits.
Not all Treats are Created Equal
It would be quite hypocritical of me to be 420 friendly and ask you to throw out treats and junk food altogether, I just can’t do it.
Sugar has the same effects on dogs as it does on humans and it can even cause the same diseases.
Choose low-calorie treats that don’t include sugar. Let’s bring back the ancestral practice of using treats as rewards as opposed to random freebies by us as guilt-ridden humans. If you can’t do without the occasional reward for staying home alone, try to reduce the amount given to them.
Consistency is Key
Adhering to a strict diet and exercise regimen is tough, especially for some of us couch potatoes too tired to cook or exercise. But once you start, the first week is the most difficult and time-consuming.
But dieting and exercising until you reach your weight goals isn’t the solution. Neither is starting out with a painful diet plan which will have you both give up. It’s the small changes that make all the difference.
An extra 5 minutes on a walk, cutting their treats in half, adding veggies between meals, and cutting back on sugar will create a consistency that can be applied long term.
Add Years to your Pup’s Life
For those who have read our About page, you’ll know I had a dog in Colombia (Dulce) for 14 incredible years. She was there for my first kiss when I broke my arm and even witnessed me learn how to ride a bike. She was my everything.
Dulce died of lymphoma and though I can’t attribute her death to a lack of diet and exercise. I often think about whether we took as good care of her food as we could.
That’s why when it comes to pet nutrition, we can’t emphasize enough the importance of watching what they eat. Filling their stomachs with garbage and letting our relatives feed them scraps though not life-threatening can be detrimental to any diet. Remember, it’s often up to us to decide how long they’re with us.