Monday, December 21, 2015

Shedding Holiday Weight

Shedding Holiday Weight!

At Urban Tails, our Thanksgiving feast of turkey, sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie was enjoyed by every canine lucky enough to have stayed with us this year. With the new year approaching, many will make plans to begin a fitness regiment to make up for the extra slices of pie. Our canines aren’t excluded from this yearly phenomenon so this month, we’ll review a few guidelines about canine weight loss to make it easier, healthier and with greater chances of success. Before you attempt helping your dog to lose weight, check with their veterinarian to choose the best diet and to be sure there are no underlying health issues that are contributing to weight gain. 

Obviously your dog’s diet is essential to both losing and maintaining a healthy weight. Choose a diet with above average protein but below average fat and calories. The average protein in dog food is 29% in dry kibble and 40% in canned food, with the average fat calculated at 16% for kibble and 23% in canned food. The average calorie count is 250-350 calories per 8 ounce cup of kibble or 13 ounce can. When shopping for dog food, be sure to pay close attention to the ingredients listed on the label as many times fat and calories are replaced by empty carbohydrates that offer only a temporary sense of satisfaction. 

If you decide to substitute a portion of your pets’ diet with human food, such as green beans, get frozen instead of canned vegetable as canned items often contain too much sodium for it to be considered a healthy option. Cutting back on treats or choosing a smaller healthier treat can make all the difference as well. Remember for dogs, it is the act of getting a treat that matters more than the dependence on treats as a filling part of their diet. Pay attention to chews or rawhides and try to give ones that will last a long time, like bully sticks, providing the chewing satisfaction without the fat content. 

For a canine, the fun part of losing weight is all in the exercise – a natural pastime for any pooch. Like any exercise regimen, start off small and work your way up. Don’t leave the house thinking Fido can jog a mile right off the couch. Start off with relaxing walks and build up the length as you see your dog becoming more comfortable moving around. Swimming is a great exercise for dogs of all ages but especially for older dogs as it is easier on their joints than movement on surfaces such as pavement or that include sudden movements like a game of fetch. 

Exercising with a friend is always more fun and stimulating so if you’re having a hard time getting your pooch to cooperate with complicated yoga moves, try letting him burn some calories with his friends at Urban Tails. For dogs who need a focused approach, sign them up for a group or private swim in our indoor canine pool or have them do a fifteen minute session on our canine treadmill. Many dogs are overweight simply because your house is just not as much fun for them without you in it. This can lead to long naps and decreased activity which is precisely what leads to overweight dogs struggling to keep up when they finally get to the dog park. With a pack of dogs to spend the day with, their focus is on the best kind of canine fun with the best kinds of canines at Urban Tails!