30 Jan PitPat’s guide to weight management and maintenance
What happens when your furry friend puts on a few pounds? If you can’t see their ribs or waist line, it may be time to take action and get your pup to lose a few pounds. While it may be hard to come to terms with having a slightly overweight dog, it’s best to see it as an opportunity to spend more quality time together and you’ll both benefit from a healthy lifestyle change.
If you think your dog may be overweight, make an appointment to see your vet. They can confirm if this is the case and look into any potential causes. Food allergies or joint conditions may be factors making it hard for your dog to lose weight.
MAKING A START
If the weight is due to too many treats and not enough walkies, then you’re ready to make a plan. Cutting down food, but most importantly, treats, and increasing exercise may seem simple, but we’ve got some tips to help you keep it up.
Keep a daily log of your dog’s food intake, including treats and scraps, and also their daily exercise (duration and type). Over time you can see what works and what doesn’t and you’ll be able to make tweaks to their regime confidently. You should also weigh your dog regularly to see if what you’ve been trying is making a difference. You can download PitPat’s app to use their weight management tool for free. Here you can keep a log of your dog’s weight, set an ideal weight and see them work towards it.
RESIST THE EYES
Unlike humans, dogs can’t pick up a slice of cake after a hard day, or get tempted by a burger on a Friday. It’s you who is completely in control and giving into those cute looks will do them no favours. We’ve got some tips for when your dog is begging and giving you “the eyes”:
- Play with your dog instead, engaging their brain to take their mind off food. They’ll love the extra time with you. Lay scent trails with their favourite toy or teach them a new trick.
- Go for a walk. New smells and being outdoors is great fun for dogs.
- Give them some fresh water. This can distract them from food and they’ll still feel like they’ve received something.
Exercise is great for you both, but don’t start too hard. Their joints and muscles won’t be used to high amounts of exercise. Little and often is better, so gradually build it up as you both get more confident. You can also use a dog activity monitor like PitPat to set daily goals and see how much exercise your dog is actually getting. When your whole family is involved in the weight loss programme, make sure everyone understands the importance of it. If the kids just wander round the block, this won’t be doing much to help your pup lose weight.
Anything’s achievable and it really is best to see this as quality time together, not a chore. Everyone wants to be healthier and happier, and there’s no better way than doing it with your dog.