It was a rough winter for some of us. The cold seemed to last forever! I will be the first to admit that I was not able to get my own dog out for as many long walks as he needed. This resulted in the extra 5 or so pounds he put on come his springtime weigh in and check up. I’ve been seeing this in some of my patients too and having conversations with owners on how best to get their pooches to lose those extra lbs.
1. Avoid the weekend warrior syndrome
Taking a dog out to play fly ball or a long vigorous run when they are not used to it or are carrying extra weight is how sports injuries can happen. These include ACL (or Cruciate Ligament) injuries, other ligament sprains and sore muscles. Consistent leash walks are a great way to start and then gradually work up to more vigorous activities. This is much safer way to increase the amount of exercise your dog is getting and can reduce the likelihood of injuries.
- Cut back on treats
Did you know that for a 22lb dog
– 1 small oatmeal cookie is the caloric equivalent of 1 hamburger (9.8g of fat) for 1 person
– Just 28g of cheddar cheese has the same number of calories as 2 ½ hamburgers (24.4g of fat) for 1 person
Changing to baby carrots, apple slices or ice cubes as treats are a much lower caloric option and most dogs enjoy them just as much.
- Bring in to the clinic for weight checks
This is the best way to evaluate if your dog is losing the weight he/she needs to. There is no cost to do this and we always love to see their wagging tail! It is extremely hard to gage weight loss just by looking at your pet. If you have increased their exercise and they have not lost any weight in 4-6 weeks we my need to lower their dietary calories since it’s all about “calories in and calories burned”. We can help you determine how many calories your dog should be getting for weight loss and for maintenance.
Dr. Julie Fell