It is a battle most humans have faced – the battle of the bulge. But what do we do when our 4-legged kids begin to put on a few pounds? The Beagle Brigade’s Annie has fought this battle since she was 6 months old. Momma has become a bit of a pro at finding ways to help Annie lose weight and keep it off.
The first step was finding the right food. Many of the commercial foods on the market offer a “diet” variety, but the quality of the food isn’t always so great. Come to find out a lot of the higher quality kibbles actually have less calories and are better for us.
After finding the right food, the next step is determining the right portion. You have to be certain not to cut it back too much or too fast. Momma said that is the hard part because you want to see the weight loss right away and you think it will happen quicker if you feed them less, but that doesn’t work. It takes time. You have to just cut it back a little bit each day.
One thing you have to really be careful about is treats. Treats can be loaded with calories. Momma reads the calorie content of all the treats we get. There are a lot healthy ones that have just a few calories each. Sometimes they are small, but since they are low in calories we can have two or three and still maintain our figures.
Momma also found out that there are a lot of yummy fruits and veggies we can have that are low in calories. Green beans, carrots, squash, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, snap/snow peas are just a few of our favorite veggies. We get ours steamed in a big veggie medley, which we love, love, love. Just like everything you give your pet, you should always do your research first. For example, grapes are bad for doggies, but pineapple is okay. Another big favorite amongst us beagles is pumpkin. One tablespoon of canned pumpkin is only about 5 calories. We say YUM!
Of course, there is another part of any good diet plan and that is exercise. Walking is generally the first thing everyone recommends, but that isn’t always an option. We love to run and chase each other, so we get a lot of exercise, but Annie doesn’t always like to play with us. Momma had to look for other ways to help her exercise. She found something called a buster cube. You put the food inside of it and we have to push it around to get the food back out. It drops a few pieces of kibble out at a time. Another easy option is throwing a ball for us to fetch or playing tug of war with a rope toy. Even just a few minutes of play each day will help burn those calories.
Finding the right balance isn’t always easy and not all things work the same for everyone, so it is best to find what works for you and then stick to it. It will keep your puppy dog healthy and extend his/her life.
(Please note that you should always consult your veterinarian before starting your pet on any diet or exercise regimen.)