You know that feeling you get after the holiday euphoria wears off, when you put on your favorite pair of jeans and they are just a “touch” tighter than you remember? Well, our pets experience that lovely feeling too! It is hard to manage your weight, let alone to lose weight during the winter. It’s cold, it’s wet, it’s miserable! Don’t fret!
How to manage your dog’s weight:
- Track weight – Get a starting weight at the beginning of the season so you know where you need to be. Monitoring your pet’s weight every 2-4 weeks will help keep you both on track!
- Keep an eye on intake – It’s pretty basic math, too many calories eaten + not enough burned = bad! For example, if you know that it’s going to be too cold for outdoor play for the next three days, cut back on the number of treats for those few days. If your dog doesn’t get treats to begin with, cutting back on food by 25% on those less active days may also bring you success.
- Interactive toys – Invest in some toys that encourage your canine pal to get moving! Balls that make noise, tugs, whatever it takes! If you’re really feeling motivated at this point, look into the iFetch!
- Food toys – Longer feeding time = feeling full longer. Food dispensing toys and slow feeders are going to be your new best friend during these calorie restricting times.
- Treadmill – You know YOU don’t want to use it anyway! It may seem like an odd concept, but your dog can learn to enjoy a good treadmill jog too! Word of warning, don’t expect your dog to hop on and become Usain Bolt overnight. Start slowly, i.e. reward for standing on the treadmill while its off, progressing to rewards for walking, and increasing from there. If you have questions about how to achieve this, give us a call at the clinic!
- Dog sports – Enroll your hairy best friend in a beginners agility class! These classes are great physical, as well as mental stimulation, and will leave you with an exhausted, happy dog. Added benefit, most of the classes practice inside in the winter!
- Indoor swimming – Indoor swimming pools and hydro-treadmills are increasing in popularity for our canine counterparts! Swimming will torch calories, while taking the strain off their joints, which is a nice benefit for our older or overweight friends.
- Multiple short walks – If you or your pet are cold intolerant, take multiple short walks in a day. Break up your usual hour long stroll into four 15-minute
- Play dates – Have a dog party! Invite over some well behaved dog-friends and have a supervised free-for-all in your own backyard…endless supply of hot beverages optional.
- Don’t be a weekend warrior – Cold weather isn’t easy on muscles and joints. Let your dog dictate when he/she has had enough.