We all want our dogs to be healthy and happy—and that should include a healthy weight. But how can I keep my dog healthy naturally?
Did you know that over 55% of dogs in the US are overweight? And all that extra weight can hurt their overall health—not to mention their hips and joints. We love spoiling our sweet furbabies, but we might be accidentally doing some harm. How can you reward your pups and show your love, without encouraging obesity? We’re here to help! Check out this list of super easy, natural ways to keep your pup fit, healthy and happy!
- Food: What’s the Best Food for Dogs to Lose Weight?
Feeding your pups quality dog food will help with weight loss, and overall health. We all want to give our dogs the best food, but sometimes it’s hard to tell which dog foods are good, and which just claim that they are. It’s important for your dog to eat a diet with real, fresh, whole food ingredients instead of highly processed ones. When you read the list of ingredients, it should contain words you can actually pronounce.
Look for terms like “human grade.” If it’s not good enough for you to eat, is it really good enough for your pooch to eat? Companies like Frenchie’s Kitchen create human grade dog food with clean, natural, simple ingredients. Food that your dog’s body can process naturally.
- Portion Control: How Much Should I Feed My Dog?
As humans, we love to eat! We eat when we’re sad, we eat when we’re bored, and we eat to celebrate and reward ourselves. But we end up using that same mentality for our dogs. Food makes us happier, so it must make them happier. But dogs don’t know how to say no to food, or when they’ve eaten too much. It’s our duty as pet parents to feed them appropriate portions to keep them healthy and happy.
Always check with your veterinarian to make sure you’re feeding your dog the right amount. You can also try splitting up your dog’s meals throughout the day, or using a slow-feeder dog bowl to help them maintain a healthy weight and digestion.
- Exercise: Fun Ways to Exercise with Your Dog
Another crucial part of your dog’s weight loss, physical health, and even mental health is exercise. Dogs are animals, and they crave opportunities to play, run and jump to get all their energy out. It may be difficult at times if you have a busy schedule, or don’t have a large yard. But try to make time every day to exercise with your dog.
For cold winter days, there are many ways to exercise with your dog. Playing fetch, tug-of-war, or just going up and down the stairs will give them plenty of exercise. You can also play hide and seek by hiding healthy dog treats around the house and letting your excited pup search for them. This is a great way to stimulate their sense of smell too!
If it’s warm enough, you could take them to a friend’s swimming pool, the beach, a river, or a lake. Most dogs love to swim—and it’s a great exercise for any dogs with achy joints.
- Healthy Treats: What are Healthy Rewards for My Dog?
Of course we all want to treat our sweet pups. And we want to reward them for a job well done! So let’s try to do so in healthy ways. First things first—not all rewards need to be food. Our little pooches crave attention, praise and being petted. They want to know you love them through your actions. And they want to please you—so praising them is a reward in itself.
When you want to use food as a reward, especially if you’re training them, try actual whole foods. There are plenty of fruits and veggies that are safe and healthy for your dogs. And they are sure to love them!
Every dog has slightly different tastes, so test out a few to see which ones your pup likes best. And remember, it may take a few tries for them to realize they like it. Here’s a list of fruit & veggie do’s and don’ts for your pup.
Safe Fruits for Your Dog:
Safe Veggies for Your Dog:
- Cucumber Slices
- Green Beans
NON-Safe Foods for Your Dog:
- Stems and Leaves from Fruits
- Xylitol (check your peanut butter)
- Cooked Bones
It’s important to take note of what’s safe and what’s not. Especially around the holidays when there is a lot of food sitting around, and a lot of distractions. If you think your dog has eaten something they shouldn’t, you can call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control at 888-426-4435.
A Healthy Dog is a Happy Dog
It’s never too late to help your pup get into shape. And with these simple, natural tips, you’re sure to have great success. Just remember—the healthier your dog is, the happier he or she will be. So let’s get started!