As winter rolled into spring, and spring into summer, the pandemic raged on! We hung around, watched a lot of TV and ate. Unfortunately, a lot of what we ate wasn’t necessarily good for us, especially since we spent a lot of time in a sedentary state, my dog beside me. There’s no surprise that he loves popcorn and cheese doodles as much as I do!!
But now, six months has passed and enough time has been spent eating like I’m at a child’s birthday party! You know what has to be done to knock off your extra pounds, but do you know the simplest way to slim down your pup? And most importantly, to do it without their stomach ever suspecting they’re on a “diet.”
Everyone knows the key to losing weight, whether man, or beast is to exercise more and eat less. The first objective is to provide foods that are low in calorie, but high in nutrition. For example, if you replace half of your dog’s kibble with a variety of some of the following: baked or broiled boneless chicken, sweet potato, bulgar wheat, brown rice, assorted vegetables and/or lean proteins, he will be full, happy and start to lose weight. He will consume fewer calories while receiving the nutrients he needs to stay healthy, plus feel full and satisfied. By doing this one meal per day, you’ll be reducing his caloric intake by approx. 15%.
Your bagged kibble will have the calories on the bag and it is easy enough to track which nutritious foods you will be supplementing him with. There are many free apps available for calculating what you will be adding to the kibble. You will see that you can put together a cup of vegetables, protein and grains quite easily. I simply retain a small bit of whatever I make for my family for dinner, prior to adding salt, butter and spices.
So, to reduce your dog’s caloric intake, you must first determine your dog’s weight. The goal for most dogs is to lose about 1% of their body weight per week over 4-12 weeks. If your dog loses the weight too quickly, he/she will lose muscle mass and more than likely, gain it back.
The recommended walking time is 40 minutes per day. If your dog is not thrilled or seems sluggish, you may need to start out slowly and increase your minutes as he becomes slimmer and more energetic.
Weigh your dog regularly and when he reaches his ideal weight, it’s time to return to the recommended calorie count for your dog’s weight, frame and energy level to maintain his/her ideal weight.
Dogs are a lot like us in that not everybody fits the standard. If you’re following a reduced calorie and exercise plan and your dog is not losing weight, you may want to talk to your vet, make sure your dog is in good health and ask for an individualized weight loss plan.
The important question is, how much should my dog weigh? The AKC knows – they have a chart that lists every registered breed – if your dog is a mix breed, find a relatable breed by size and frame. AKC.org – go to “Weight Management” – “Breed Weight Chart”.
There are many fabulous foods that you can add to your dog’s diet without adding a whole new project onto your busy day. Keep him/her in mind when your cooking and before adding flavorings, salt or butter/oils to finish the dish off, put a scoop aside….maybe enough for two-to-three meals.
Here are some of the proteins, grains, fruits and vegetables that are great for sharing:
- Apples, Pears, Peaches, Plums (no seeds or core)
- Watermelon & Canteloupe
- Bone broth or stock (beef, chicken, lamb)
- Beef, chicken, lamb, white fish, tuna in water, sardines (No bones or skin)
- Eggs – lightly cooked
- Carrots, green beans, snap peas, red or green peppers,
- White or red potatoes – well cooked, skin on, eyes removed
- Sweet Potatoes or yams, pumpkin – no butter or brown sugar, cinnamon ok
- Broccoli, spinach, zucchini, squash
- Bulgar wheat, brown rice, quinoa
Remember to measure and weigh so you’re not overfeeding. You may find out that your dog is a foodie by opening a whole new world of flavors to him/her!!
I would like to make a reading suggestion: This is a great book to help you feed your dog properly, keep him/her well, strong and healthy and have a long and happy life.
“Feed Your Best Friend Better,” by Rick Woodford