Has your pooch become less energetic? Does he seem quite sluggish? This is the case for many dogs around the world. After becoming part of the family and being treated more human, dogs tend to adapt to our eating habits. At times they end up grazing all day long, begging for junk food rather than eating a nutritious and balanced diet. If you notice your dog becoming overweight, a change with his diet, you’ll have taken the first necessary step – admitting the problem.
Realizing the importance of maintaining a proper diet is essential for your pup’s optimal health. Just as there are health risks associated with humans being overweight, the same holds true for our four-legged friend. Studies show that being overweight can reduce the life expectancy of dogs by two years. There are other serious risks associated with weight gain, like diabetes and hypertension that should be considered.
Even if your pup is already overweight, it is not too late. You’re the one that is in control. Most times, a dog becomes overweight for one reason; he is ingesting more calories than he is burning. To help your pup lose weight you need to reduce the number of calories he eats and increase his physical activity to burn them.
It’s not always as easy as it sounds though. Your dog has become accustomed to his current eating habits. Whether he is a grazer, eating all day long, or a beggar, asking for snacks from you – it needs to end now. You may have to endure some serious whining and maybe a bit of barking, but it’s essential you stick to the diet plan if you are going to give your dog the gift of a healthier, longer life. If your dog’s attitude becomes unbearable, you may want to consider getting a dark bark collar, to help with the retraining his eating habits. Much like a child, if you give into their demands, they will only keep up their tantrums in order to get more.
Now that you know what you must do, there are some healthy snacks that you can try offering your dog to help adjust to this sudden change to his diet. Take note that any one thing in excess is not good – especially if your dog is not exercising enough. Your dog must burn more calories than he is ingesting.
Healthy Snack Alternatives for Your Dog
If your dog is used to eating all day long, or getting delicious treats like ice cream, these snacks may be a shock to his system and spirit, but given time he will warm up to the idea, especially if he really is hungry.
Carrots: Offer your dog the delicious, sweet and crisp vegetable. Your pup will enjoy the crispness of this good-for-you food. Plus, it will offer benefits with its vitamin-packed goodness. Offer baby carrots or cut up regular size carrots.
Canned Dog Food: Canned dog food typically is more nutritious than its dry counterpart. There are less ingredients and less fat. Most importantly, this food is high in protein which is very important for your dog’s nutrition needs. However give your dog just a little bit as a treat – not an entire can.
New Chew Toys: While this is not exactly a snack, the intense chewing on new toys can help distract your dogs desire to snack and is the best option in helping your dog reduce his caloric intake.
Dogs really do not even need to eat every day to maintain their health, but depending on what your dog is used to eating, that could be a stretch. Take your time, pace yourself, keep track of the adjustments and your pooch’s weight will be under control in no time.
Practicing veterinarian Susan Wright often writes articles on the proper care of domestic pets. Susan is the staff expert for dog bark collar