Setting out to help your dog achieve his optimal weight can be daunting. But with a little perseverance, you can do it! Just follow these four key steps and experience the rewards of a more energetic life together.
Being overweight can lead to a variety of health problems, so it’s important to tackle the issue. This may include a healthy dog diet and a suitable exercise routine.
FEED HIM FOR FITNESS
If your dog is on a weight management programme, try not giving him one big meal. To spread it out, feed him two or three smaller meals of a specially formulated diet for dog weight management, rather than one larger meal. These evenly spaced meals throughout the day will help reduce his feelings of hunger.
A healthy diet for dogs isn’t just about what you feed him and when, but how much. Measure his meals accurately to avoid giving him more than he needs – it’s very easy to overfill a bowl if you’re using guesswork. The PURINA® PRO PLAN® DOG range has detailed guidelines on the pack for the amount your dog or puppy needs as part of a healthy dog diet.
Avoid feeding him any leftovers, as these can add many unwanted calories in the wrong nutritional form. Well-meaning family and friends can contribute to this, so make sure they know about his healthy weight management programme. If everyone’s involved, his weight loss will be easier as you’ll know what he’s eating.
Treats are a part of building your relationship with your dog, like when you’re rewarding him during training. However, they can add hidden calories to his diet so set a few simple treat guidelines to make sure he’s not getting more than he really needs.
A balanced diet for a dog shouldn’t contain too much fat. Try to choose treats that don’t contain too much.
Make a daily ‘treat box’ so you know exactly what and how much your dog is getting. Every time you give him a treat, put a matching treat in the box. At the end of the day, you can have a look at how many extras you are really feeding your dog. Weight loss, or management of his weight, is a lot easier if you know how much he’s getting.
If your dog begs for treats, try giving him attention instead. Playing will distract him from food and helps him shed calories while you share fun.
EXERCISE FOR ENERGY
Whether you’re strolling through the woods or playing ‘fetch’ in the park, exercise and play are vital to your relationship together. It’s also a fun way to help your dog maintain his optimal weight as part of his healthy lifestyle, and a great opportunity to bond and enjoy the great outdoors. Variety is the spice of life, so try mixing up your exercise routine in the following ways:
- Use toys to make a walk with your dog more fun
- If he enjoys fetching a ball, consider using a tennis racquet to send the ball further, giving him more of a run.
- Try walking with other dog owners
- Groups of dogs and owners are more likely to walk further. Your dog might even make a play friend, and dogs who play together burn more calories!
- Consider varying your walking routine
- Whether it’s a change of route or a switch of pace from a walk to a jog, variety will make your exercise more fun and make you both want to do it more. It might not even feel like exercise.
- Remember, if your dog is old or arthritic, his exercise potential might be limited. Consult your vet to find out the best course of action.
WATCH THE WEIGHT
Weight management goals make it easier to measure your dog’s weight loss progress. When you’re using a specially formulated weight control dog food and stepping up his exercise routine, consider keeping a progress chart of your dog’s weight, measuring his waistline and monitoring his shape with a Body Conditioning Chart.
A good target to aim for is 2% weight loss per week. Make that target a shared experience with your dog and reward him along the way with a new bowl or toy. For a more official, accurate assessment, or if your dog is very overweight make an appointment with your vet.
DON’T GIVE UP
Losing weight for a dog, as with humans, is a gradual process, even with a weight control dog food. Don’t let that deter you or your dog from achieving his weight loss goal. Gradual is great as it means the weight is more likely to stay off. With the support of your vet, PURINA® PRO PLAN® nutrition and a new exercise routine, he’ll get the happiness and health he needs to enjoy his amazing world.
EASY TIPS FOR WEIGHT MANAGEMENT
•• Give love and attention, not food
•• Treats are fine within calorie limits
•• Go slow with weight loss
•• Play and exercise – the more, the better
HE’LL SHOW YOU THE DIFFERENCE
As he progresses through the weight management programme, expect your bond to grow even stronger as you spend quality time together.
He may show:
•• More mobility, so you can do more together
•• Greater playfulness for maximum fun
•• Less tiredness for a more energetic life
•• Less shortness of breath for more exercise and exploring
•• A trim and slim profile so he’ll look as great as he feels