How to Put a Dog on a Dietby Tammy Dray
Rover tipping off the scale with a bit of a heavy foot? Might be time for him to go on a diet. Since you can't exactly explain to him why food is suddenly scarce and treats are no-go anymore, you will need to ease him into his new food plan. Be prepared for lots of begging, cutesy sad eyes and all the tricks on the book -- just don't fall for them.
Switch to a dry food designed especially for weight loss. Premium weight-loss foods are available through your vet and, yes, they cost more than cheap brands you can get at the local pet store or supermarket. The good news? They usually contain lots of fiber, so Rover will feel full with less food.
Ask your vet or read the instructions on the food bag to find out how much Rover should be eating. Chances are, he's getting a supersized portion from you. Do you simply put a bowl out so he can eat whenever he wants to? Well, that's over. Feed him twice a day -- or three times if he can't handle the wait.
Stop feeding anything but the dog food. No treats and definitely no table scraps. Even a tiny snack here and there adds up to hundreds of extra calories every week. If Rover can't live without a treat, go for a plain hard rawhide bone. Still contains calories but not as many -- and because they take a long time to eat, Rover won't be begging for more just a few minutes later.
Keep him busy so he doesn't think about food -- or the lack of it -- all the time. How about a nice little workout routine? Or a few interactive toys to keep him on his toes? Any chance you could stand to lose a few pounds, too? Make your daily doggie walks longer and you will both benefit.
- John Howard/Lifesize/Getty Images