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How To Help Your Dog Lose Weight Safely

How To Help Your Dog Lose Weight Safely

The Ruff Reality of Canine Obesity

Oh boy, it looks like someone’s been sneaking a few too many treats! If your veterinarian has recently delivered the dreaded news that your furry friend is carrying a few extra pounds, don’t worry – you’re not alone. Over half of the dogs in the U.S. are overweight or obese, and it’s a problem that’s only getting worse. But fear not, my fellow dog parents, because I’m here to share some tried-and-true tips to help your pooch shed those unwanted pounds and get back to their healthy, happy self.

Calculating the Calories

The first step in your dog’s weight loss journey is to figure out exactly how many calories they need each day. Now, I know what you’re thinking – “But my dog’s food bag says they should be eating way more than that!” Well, my furry friends, those guidelines are about as reliable as my dad’s jokes. You see, those feeding recommendations are based on the needs of a super active adult dog, which doesn’t exactly describe most of our couch-loving companions.

To get a more accurate calorie count, you’ll want to consult your vet and use a formula like the Resting Energy Requirement (RER) – that’s (your dog’s weight in kilograms x 30) + 70. This will give you a ballpark figure to start with, and then you can fine-tune it based on factors like your pup’s activity level and whether they’ve been spayed or neutered. Trust me, keeping a close eye on those calories is the key to helping your dog shed those extra pounds.

The Right Fuel for the Job

Now that we know how much to feed, it’s time to talk about what to feed. And let me tell you, not all dog foods are created equal when it comes to weight loss. You’ll want to steer clear of those ultra-processed, carb-heavy kibbles and instead opt for a nutrient-dense, fresh food diet. These diets are packed with high-quality protein and fiber to keep your pup feeling full and satisfied, without all the fillers that can pack on the pounds.

I Have Dogs actually has some great fresh food options that are formulated specifically for weight management. And the best part? You can get it delivered right to your door, so no more lugging heavy bags of kibble from the pet store. It’s a win-win for both you and your furry friend!

Treat Yourself (and Your Dog)

Alright, let’s talk about the elephant in the room – treats. We all love to spoil our dogs with tasty little morsels, but when it comes to weight loss, those treats can really add up. The key is to keep them to no more than 10% of your pup’s daily calorie intake, and to choose healthy, low-calorie options like fresh veggies or single-ingredient treats.

I know, I know – it’s hard to resist those big, hopeful eyes when they’re begging for a bite of your burger. But trust me, your dog will be just as happy (if not more so) with a crunchy carrot or a piece of apple. And who knows, you might even inspire them to try some new healthy snacks that you can enjoy too!

Get Moving!

Now, I know exercise isn’t exactly the most exciting part of a weight loss plan, but trust me, it’s essential for your dog’s overall health and well-being. And the best part? You get to be the one leading the charge!

Start by upping the intensity and duration of your daily walks. Aim for at least 30 minutes of brisk walking, where you’re both working up a sweat. And if your pup is up for it, try mixing in some other low-impact activities like swimming or gentle jogging. Just be sure to check with your vet first to make sure your dog is healthy enough for more vigorous exercise.

Remember, the key is to start slowly and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts. You don’t want to overdo it and risk injury, so listen to your pup and adjust accordingly. And who knows, you might just find that you and your furry friend are having a blast bonding over your new fitness routine!

Patience and Persistence

Alright, so you’ve got the calorie counting, the healthy diet, and the exercise plan all figured out – now what? Well, my friend, the final piece of the puzzle is patience and persistence. You see, weight loss isn’t exactly a sprint, it’s more of a leisurely stroll. Your dog should be losing around 1-2% of their body weight per week, which might not sound like much, but trust me, it adds up over time.

Experts recommend aiming for a 5-10% reduction in weight over the course of one to three months, depending on your pup’s individual needs. And remember, it’s not just about the number on the scale – you’ll also want to keep an eye on their body condition, muscle tone, and overall energy levels.

So, stay the course, my fellow dog parents, and remember that slow and steady wins the race. Your pup is counting on you to help them feel their absolute best, and with a little time and a lot of love, I know you’ve got this. Now, who’s ready to go for a walk?

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