After the winter we just had it is no surprise that we are all carrying a little more winter weight than normal. This winter was absolutely brutal! We are seeing a very common trend in the exam room this year - most of the patients we see have gained a bit of weight. Thanks to all of the ice, snow, and cold weather it became exceedingly challenging to safely take our dog for a walk and the weather didn't help motivate us either! Well, its time for everyone to start working on their bikini bodies!
Another really common trend we see with our patients is they are being overfed. This is very easy to do, so lets talk about how much you really should be feeding your animals. Looking at the back of your dog food bag they give you a "feeding guide". Some brands; not all of them tell you to feed more than you should. One thing about the feeding guide on the bag is it doesn't necessarily take into account the activity level of your animal. On one hand we have some dogs that are extremely busy and active and get a significant amount of exercise. Unfortunately, there are those dogs who are just generally lazy and content to just lounge in the house. They don't necessarily care to go on long walks despite your efforts. Obviously, a dog with a high level of exercise may require more Kcals (killocallories- the caloric unit of measurement for animal nutrition) than our lower level energy dogs. You know your animal and their lifestyle better than anyone else so you have to use your discretion when feeding them.
Listed below are some approximate guidelines -
0-10 lbs 1/4 cup twice daily
10-20 lbs 1/3 cup twice daily
20-40 lbs 1/2 cup twice daily
40-60 lbs 3/4 cup twice daily
60-80 lbs 1 cup twice daily
80-100 1 1/2 cup twice daily
100+ 2 cups twice daily
Ok, so now we have given you some guidelines. Tonight, when you feed them - feed them their usual amount of food, but this time actually measure it out. Use an 8 ounce measuring cup. You might find you are feeding your little darlings more than you thought you were. Having found this out it is important to cut calories back slowly. You certainly don't want to cut their intake back overnight. Here are a couple of healthy little tips to bulk up your pets food and help them lose some weight. We generally tell our clients to add things like green beans (canned or fresh) and baby carrots to their food. This will add volume with limited calories and fill their tummies. (Sort of like a salad.) The good news is they seem to like this a lot. We suggest trying a lower calorie treat to supplement with such as: baby carrots and baby rice cakes! If your pal likes to chew on bones you can get a beef soup bone at the market for them and boil out all of the marrow. This is another good treat lower in calorie than some of the other bones you may find at the pet stores. The important thing to remember is everything in moderation.
If your animal is overweight it is important to help them loose it for many reasons. Weight loss will help their joints which over time as they age can become a problem. This is especially true in breeds genetically predisposed to hip/knee/back issues. Obesity can lead to cardiac issues, diabetes, exercise intolerance, and other medical issues. It is never a bad idea to keep them nice and trim all year round. Think about how we feel when we drop weight- the same is true of our furry friends. We hope that you take what you have learned here today and get inspired to help get your pups bikini body ready.
Huck, Gadgett,Clover and Georgia sporting their new bathing suits..... Luna our beach babe under the umbrella!