Overweight pets pose a huge health risk to their owners and can end up being a pricey mistake. Owners need to realise the dramatic negative health consequences of not controlling your pet’s weight. At Pawfect, we are passionate about seeing pet owners enjoy healthy, active pets.
Here are our Top 7 tips for helping your dog lose weight.
- Portion control – while your pet is losing weight be very strict with portion sizes and stick to the recommended feeding guidelines.
- Choose a protein-rich diet will help to keep your pet’s weight in check. Overweight dogs need a high meat diet with limited calories to promote better fitness. Limited in fat and carbohydrates and a unique combination of pumpkin fibre, apples and pumpkin, ORIJEN Fit & Trim is deliciously tasty, even for fussy dogs.
- Keeping the pet out of the kitchen while meals are being prepared
- Decreasing the number and size of treats that are fed. Unfortunately, when restricting calorie intake to achieve desirable weight loss, all treats need to be counted as well.
- Substituting play and attention for food reinforcers. There are some great toys that you can use, here are our top recommendations:
- Establish a routine -a regular daily feeding schedule should be established.
- Get active, below are some top tips on “Getting active your dog”
Before you hit the road or trails for a run, consider your dog’s breed, health and build. For example, short-nosed or flat-nose breeds are unlikely to be able to go on long runs while your gun dogs are made for longer adventures. If you are not sure consult your vet for advice on your breed.
Tips for getting active with your dog:
- Build up gradually. Just like humans, dogs need to get fit gradually to prevent injuries, especially is they are overweight. Lengthen their walks/ runs gradually each time. Also watch for warning signs of overexertion, like weakness, drooling, dark red gums and vomiting. If you dog stops and refuses to continue don’t force them to carry on.
- Hit the trails or open spaces- dogs run differently to humans and they are better off leash. Off lead they can moderate their own pace. Do you research and find places near you and enjoy getting off the beaten path. If you are in the Ballito area join us for Tail Trails every Wednesday afternoon at 15:15 for a free social dog walk.
- Harness Fit – when choosing to run with your dog ensure they have a good comfortable harness. If you are going on more hectic adventures that require you to lift your dog, make sure you choose a sturdy harness with a good handle for grip.
- Water – take enough water for you and your dog to stay hydrated. We suggest you invest in a portable, collapsible water bowl that you can easily take with on your adventures. I can highly recommend the Ruff Wear Trail Runner and Quencher Bowls. It is essential to make sure you stop regularly to keep your dog hydrated.
- Consider the weather– don’t run them in the heat of the day. Consider a cooling jacket for hot conditions and a fleece or knit jacket in colder conditions. In the winter months when it is darker a track visibility jacket is a great investment. We would highly recommend investing in a Ruffwear Cooling jacket.
- Light up – We recommend a light attached to their harness to make them visible at all times. I love the Beacon Safety light from Ruff Wear, it has three different colours and settings. It now comes with an audible function. These lights are rechargeable and waterproof. They are slightly more expensive than most options on the market, but they are really durable and long lasting.
- Look after your pooches’ paws– if it is rough terrain or hot pavements you can consider investing in dog boots. Be warned most dogs will take time to get adjust having something on their paws so take the time to let them adjust to you putting them on and build up the length of time they spend in them. STA lotion is also a good option to firm up their paws.
- Check them for ticks when coming out of the bush– before going out I recommend the Outdoor Defence spray for you and your dog. It is also a good idea to wipe them off after any adventure with pet friendly wipes. Make sure you keep their tick and flee treatments up to date.
- Don’t start them too young. Just because your puppy has lots of energy do not run them too early. Large breed can be still developing up until 18 months. Running them before this may have long-term ramifications. When they are young, we suggest you work on your basic commands, recall and bonding exercises. Later when you start to go on your running adventures you have reinforced that the best place for your dog to be is right by your side, and that is where they want to stay.
- Scoop the poop -leave places the way you find them. So, if you need to scoop the poop ensure you take poop bags with you. We recommend the biodegradable Earth Rated Degradable rolls.
Best wishes on your weight loss journey.
George – CEO