While scientific studies show that pets who are even slightly overweight have decreased vitality and are at risk for complications that shorten their lifespans, still 56% of cats and 60% of dogs in the U.S. qualify as overweight or obese.
So while we love to give dogs the food, treats, and even scraps they love, it’s important to make sure we’re helping keep them maintain a weight that lets them live their best lives. With winter approaching, the couch and the comfort food may be calling you both, but it’s important to stay on top of diet and exercise.
- Daily walks are doubly good. You both burn calories and get to spend quality time together doing something they love. Be sure to have cold-weather gear close at hand—right next to the leash and doggie bags—to make it even easier to get out there and get moving.
- Make time for play time. Remember how much you loved indoor recess as a kid? Special games and activities got pulled out just to keep us from climbing the walls? Do the same for your dog. Keep a few toys—like a house-friendly ball, treat ball, or tug toy—tucked away for those days when it’s too harsh to brave the elements.
- Ingredients tell an important story. Read the label of your dog’s food and treats to make sure it’s loaded with real, WHOLE meat, vegetables, and other quality ingredients that you might find in your own kitchen.
- Measure your love. Check with your vet to make sure you know how many calories your dog should get each day and then measure the exact amount into the bowl.
- Make treats a treat. Biscuits and cookies are a wonderful way to please your pup, but know that they should be made with healthy ingredients and calculated into your dog’s calorie intake.
- Filling up without filling out. Diets aren’t fun, but with healthy weight dog food, you can help your dog reduce his or her calorie intake and still feel satisfied.