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It’s easy to put on a few extra pounds over the winter months. Not only do we have a couple of holidays which traditionally involve a big, fatty meal (and days worth of leftovers), the cold weather is an easy excuse to stay inside and bundle up instead of taking that walk or hitting the gym.
When we live a more sedentary lifestyle, our dogs often follow suit, especially if we’re slacking on their daily walking or playing routine.
And, while a couple of extra pounds on us may not seem like a big deal, it can really effect your dog’s health. So, now that winter is waning and the weather’s warming, it’s a good time to start getting your dog (and yourself!) back in shape.
The American Kennel Club offers some great advice for helping your dog drop that winter weight:
- Take a trip to the vet. Before getting started on any new regimen, first have your dog examined by your veterinarian to rule out any medical causes for obesity such as endocrine disorders.
- Change Fido’s diet. Switch your dog’s food to a low-calorie, high-protein food.
- Account for treats. Feed your dog low-calorie snacks such as carrots, rice, or even ice cubes. Make sure to include treats in the daily allotted calories, and limit the amount of treats to less than 10% of his daily caloric intake.
- Get active! As with humans, exercise plays a role in weight loss. Get active with your dog – but make sure the task is tailored to your dog’s physical condition. Leash walking and swimming are examples of suitable low-impact activities for severely overweight dogs.
If you normally take your pup for a 20 minute walk each day, add another 5 minutes. If your dog loves to chase his toys, take him to the backyard and toss them around the yard for him. If she likes crunchy treats, try substituting carrots or homemade sweet potato crisps instead of high-calorie store-bought dog treats. With just a little extra effort, your dog will quickly start to drop that winter weight, and you’ll both feel healthier!
Do you have any other winter weight loss tips for dogs? Share them with us in a comment!