Anyone that has been following our story knows that Andersen has been struggling a bit with his weight. I know that as his owner that this is partly my fault. I had been a bit lazy and also felt bad for Andersen because I knew that his joints were bothering him and that moving was a bit more difficult for him than it used to be.
With that being said, I also knew that if I could help Andersen lose some weight it would be possible to add a few years to his life. So, we started a plan to help him lose weight. Here are five things that I did in order to help Andersen lose weight. These are all easy things to do with your pet and you will find that by taking just a few simple steps such as these that you can easily add years to your dog’s life.
1. Daily Exercise
This is really a no-brainer and it is something that is quite easy to do. We started out taking short walks each morning. This was not only good for Andersen but great for me as well. This was a good start for helping Andersen on his weight loss journey. We started out with just short walks and ended up going on jogs that were longer and longer.
2. Portion Control
I learned quickly that I was actually overfeeding my dog. The dog food bag should provide you with the proper amount for your dog and you should feed your overweight dog on the lower end of the suggested amount.
When researching portion control I found that one study done at the Pennsylvania School of Vet Medicine showed that dogs that were fed a calorie-restricted diet lived an average of almost 2 years longer than dogs that were not restricted. This just proved to me that what I was doing was the right choice.
3. Increase Frequency of Feedings
Along with portion control, I started feeding Andersen several times throughout the day. This is the same diet concept that many people employ when trying to lose weight. Eating smaller meals throughout the day helps avoid binge eating and also improves overall digestion.
4. Increase Whole Foods
One of the things that I had to really consider was the type of food that I was feeding Andersen. When researching different dog foods I looked at foods that offered fresh proteins, fat sources, and carbohydrates at the top of the ingredient list. These are ingredients that are energetically useful for your pet. I also started adding steamed vegetables to his food as a way to dilute the calories he was consuming while adding more fiber.
5. Fewer Treats
Let’s face it, we all love to give our dogs treats. Well, at least I know that I do. I am a sucker for Andersen’s pathetic look when he is begging for a treat. Giving him treats provides me with happiness as well as him.
The problem with treats is that they can really add calories to your dog’s overall diet. A good rule of thumb to follow is that treats should not be more than 10% of your dog’s daily calorie intake. Instead of biscuits and other traditional dog treats, I started giving Andersen fresh fruits and veggies instead. Some of his favorites are carrots and apples. He has also tried cucumbers, green beans, and carrots.
By just taking these few simple steps Andersen has already lost several pounds and also has more energy.