Did you know that by keeping your dog’s weight in check, you could add an extra two years to their life?
When you consider we all wish for more time with our beloved pets, the potential to add an extra two years is a lot, isn’t it?
When it comes to our dogs, we all want the best for them and if you’ve recently discovered your dog is overweight, we’re here to guide you on weight loss – what to expect and how to maintain.
It might seem strange, but there is a right way to lose weight and it isn’t always the fastest way.
The first thing you should do is set your goals and know your dog’s target weight.
Once you know if there are any underlying health concerns you need to consider, you can begin to put a plan of action together, so talk to your vet and find out if your dog’s weight is a sign of any underlying health-related problems, such as diabetes.
Next, get acquainted with the pet food market and learn what ingredients you should look for so you know you’re choosing the right weight loss dog food.
You might be tempted to just reduce your dog’s current diet to smaller portions but according to The Blue Cross, by “just reducing the amount of normal food, the diet is less likely to be successful.”
So begin by searching for light dog food – also sometimes known as diet dog food. It’s worth remembering that while some light dog foods are also weight loss foods, some are designed to maintain a dog’s weight rather than encourage weight loss. So, if you choose a lighter weight maintenance food, try feeding ¾ of the daily recommended amount.
When you’ve chosen your dog’s new lighter food, monitor how they are coping with the change.
According to VCA Hospitals, a safe loss for your dog is between 3-5% per month, but it will vary based on their breed, size and how much they must lose. In most cases though, dogs will meet their target weight within 6-8 months.
After two months if your dog is not losing weight, you should consider changing diet once again but speak with your vet beforehand.
Throughout your journey, keep a diary and monitor your dog’s weight and food intake.
It’s all too easy (speaking from personal experience) to take a bite and forget it happened, so it could be your dog is taking in more calories than you know.
In the early days, the food diary could give you an insight into the type of snacks you feed and help you plan a new long-term diet, for example, a low fat dog food might suit your dog, or it may be they’re best suited to another diet or specialist food.
When your dog is at a healthy weight – firstly, congratulations! Weight loss is never easy so you should feel proud you’ve accomplished something on your dog’s behalf that will really benefit them.
It’s important now not to lose sight of how far you’ve come. Make sure you still try to keep track of what food they’re taking in so you can avoid having to lose weight, if possible, in the future and begin researching the best weight management dog foods for your dog’s breed and age, so you can maintain your dog’s new weight.