They say that the way to a person’s heart is through their stomach and it’s safe to say that the old saying also applies to our dogs. Many of us are guilty of showing our love with a little extra titbit here or a handful of treats there, however, treat them with snacks too much and you might end up with an overweight or even worse, an obese dog.
Once your vet confirms that your four-legged friend has piled on the pounds and needs to slim down, it’s time to put your overweight dog on a strict diet and exercise plan!
Here are our 5 top tips to get your furry friend back into tip-top condition.
- Research and understand your dog’s ideal weight.
Ideal weights will vary for each dog depending on a number of factors including their breed, age, activity level and any existing health issues your dog they may have. Speaking to your vet or our Autarky Nutritional experts will help you to gain an understanding of the weight that your individual dog should ideally be.
- Develop an effective weight monitoring plan.
Once you know your dog’s ideal weight it’s time to get them on the scales to see just how far off that they actually are. Your vet should have specialist scales that you can use. Plan in a weigh-in session for your dog every couple of weeks to make sure they stay on track to hit their weight-loss goal!
- Find the right low-calorie food for your dog’s needs.
If your dog is overweight, you want them to lose fat, not muscle. Protein is critical to the maintenance and growth of muscle which is, in turn, key for mobility. Autarky Mature Lite has been developed with a moderate calorie content to prevent weight gain and contains natural antioxidants and beneficial herbs to support the immune system and prebiotics for digestive health.
- Gradually introduce a strict exercise plan!
Exercise plans must take the specifics of your individual dog into consideration. Many overweight pets, especially those that are middle-aged or senior, may have arthritis or other conditions which limit stamina. Walking is the best exercise for most dogs because it shouldn’t overstress the cardiovascular system, and it has a low impact on joints. Gradually increasing the length and frequency of your dog’s daily walks is an effective way of supporting them in losing their excess weight, you should aim for your dog to get about an hour of exercise per day, as long as they can tolerate it. The amount of calories your dog burns is related to the time spent walking, playing games and interacting with their owner.
- Monitor your dog’s progress post-weight loss.
When your dog reaches their target weight, don’t increase calories or decrease exercise too soon or too dramatically – doing so could lead to them piling the pounds back on again!
Our friendly, experienced team are always happy to provide advice on feeding your dog, whatever their age, on our Nutritional Helpline 01832 737 300, Monday – Friday 8:30am -5pm.