It’s happened to a lot of us over the past several months: The COVID-19 pandemic has kept us at home, inside, and in many ways less active than we were at this time last year or at any time in our lives. While this terrible outbreak has inflicted an incredible amount of damage to the world, in some ways, it’s actually been good for our dog friends, as we’ve been home with them more. One would think that because of all of this extra time and the boredom humans are experiencing, dogs are living healthier lives because they’re being walked more.
While that may be the case, it’s also true that they’re generally eating more, as we have all been tempted to give our furry friend, “just one more treat” or “just one or two bites from my leftover dinner.” As such, more and more people are starting to realize that, like a lot of humans, their dogs need to drop some weight. KONG has been working with dog owners for nearly 50 years, and we’d like to say right off the bat that this is generally not as simple as feeding your dog less food. It’s a process and one that can be successful with the right mindset and the proper amount of discipline and patience. Below you’ll find 5 ways to help your hefty pup with weight management.
1. Healthy Meals
One of the first things you should do to help your dog with weight management is also the most obvious: Measure how much food you’re feeding your dog at mealtime so you can compare it to the recommended amounts for the dog’s breed, age, and average weight. Most people are surprised to learn that they’re feeding their dogs too much, and they need to cut down in response. Whether you’re feeding your dog the right amount of food or not, you should also check the carb and protein content. If your dog food is high in carbs, it may be time to switch to a formula that provides more protein and fewer carbs, as this will keep your dog sated for longer periods of time.
2. Responsible Treats
Treats can be extremely useful when it comes to training your dog to behave in the manner you want. They’re also quite helpful when you want to persuade your dog to do something he or she will not want to do, such as get into the bathtub or the car for a trip to the vet. It’s also easy to lose sight of the fact that because of these situations, we may simply give our dogs treats too often. Not only that, but many commercially-available treats are high in fat and ingredients that offer nothing, almost like junk food for humans. However, if you’re looking for ways to help your hefty pup with weight management, you don’t necessarily have to eliminate treats. Instead, you can replace them with foods that are high in fiber, such as small raw carrots. This will actually benefit your furry friend.
3. Get Out There and Exercise
Once again, one of the most obvious ways to help your dog with weight management is to make sure that he or she is getting enough exercise. You should do some research to see what amount is appropriate for your dog, as different breeds and dogs of different ages and sizes will need different amounts. If your dog is not getting enough of a workout on a daily basis, start to slowly but surely increase that amount of exercise. What you should avoid doing is immediately ramping your dog’s exercise routine up too quickly. It’s the same for us – you don’t want to run a marathon after months of no exercise, as that would only lead to serious risks. The same holds true for your dog, so take your time and increase his or her output responsibly.
4. Make Sure There’s Water
No, we’re not suggesting that one of the ways to help your hefty pup with weight management is a water-based diet. We ARE suggesting that once again like with humans, there are times when dogs will think they are hungry when they are actually thirsty. Can you remember a time when you decided to eat that watery snack that may not have made you feel good later, but that certainly gave you a temporary boost? Dogs will do the same thing at times, but if they see that they always have fresh, available water around, they’ll be happy just to grab a drink and move on.
5. Stay Patient
A well-respected doctor once responded to a patient who said, “Boy, it’s going to take a lot of work to lose all this weight,” with “True, but it also took a lot of work to add that weight.” Your dog did not gain all of his or her extra pounds in the matter of a couple of days, so he or she is not going to lose all the weight as quickly as you’d like. You need to make sure that you exercise patience with your furry friend, as he or she will need time just like you would if you were in this position. You’ll start to see gains soon enough, and if your dog really needs help with weight management and loses enough weight, he or she will also start to feel better and become more active.
Of course, you can also provide your dog with some of his or her own stimuli in order to prompt that activity and that exercise. KONG has been helping keep dogs active – or making them more active – for nearly 50 years. We understand the need and the importance of healthy dogs, and we’ve been putting new products together with that in mind since we opened our doors. We invite you to download the KONG Club app to find the entertainment that may work for you and your friend, and we wish you luck in your new mission!
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