Now that we’re two years into the pandemic, it’s becoming more and more obvious that my dog (and, to be honest, me, too) has gained weight. I am optimistic that the worst of COVID is behind us and now my dog and I are ready to lose this quarantine weight and get back on track. Any tips to help my dog lose weight?
Feeling fluffy in Forest West
Dear fluffy feeling,
The COVID pandemic had a huge impact on almost every aspect of our lives and weight gain was definitely one of those impacts that many experienced. With humans spending much more time at home, pets have become very used to having their people around, and with humans at home and boredom playing, many of us did the only thing we could think of to feel comfortable…eat. .
Now that life is (seemingly) getting back to normal, many people are ready to get back to their old routines and get back to eating better and exercising. These same goals apply to pets in the world as well. Here are a few ways you can help your dog lose the COVID weight and get back in shape in no time.
control the delicacies
Dogs love treats and humans love to treat their dogs, but too many treats can add up to a lot of weight gain in too little time. An easy way to control your dog’s calories is to offer fewer treats. Maybe make treats more of a “treat” rather than a habit. You can also give your dog bits of his kibble instead of high-calorie treats if you can’t bear to deny him what he loves most.
Low calorie treats
Look for other treat options that don’t include the high-calorie treats your dog has grown accustomed to. Green beans make a good treat for dogs (look for frozen green beans or canned green beans without salt), as do carrots or small bites of plain chicken.
Be strict with portion control
Have you ever looked at the recommendations on how much to feed your dog based on his weight? You may be surprised to learn that he is overfeeding your pet. Your bag of dog food should have a helpful chart printed on the back indicating how much to feed your dog based on weight. Measure that amount using proper measuring cups and feed accordingly.
If your dog is allowed to freely feed (eat from a full bowl of food whenever he wants), consider moving him to a feeding schedule. Most dogs can be fed once or twice a day. If your dog doesn’t finish everything in his bowl within an hour, take the bowl away from him.
It’s probably a no-brainer, but now that spring is here and the weather is picking up, there’s no good excuse not to take your dog for a walk. Fight your way to go further and for longer periods of time. Watch for his signs that he is tired and make sure he is comfortable and has plenty of water.
I’m sure you and your dog will be back in “fighting shape” in no time! With a little care and attention, you can help your pet transition back to his new post-COVID normal and usher in a healthier lifestyle.