If you own a dog, you know just how much power those beautiful puppy eyes hold! If you have a snack, many owners would bet that their hungry pup is not too far away, just waiting for a piece of our snack to enjoy with us!
Of course, everyone loves to see our pups happy, but what about healthy? More often than not, owners will share some of their food to keep their dog feeling happy and loved, but what we don’t always realize is that while we humans can control how much, and what we eat, dogs will eat just about anything without a second thought!
Let’s take a deeper look into what it means, exactly, to share food with our pets!
According to the experts, about 53% of the dogs in America are overweight or obese! This shocking statistic sheds light on one of the main health-related issues in the dog world today.
You know what they say, the fastest way to a dog’s heart is through its stomach! However, this is no healthy way to show love!
Obesity can lead to heart disease, liver and/or kidney disease or failure, and much more. So, to avoid these conditions, why not show some healthy love?
Here at Awoken k9, we value the importance of dog training and communication, but we also value our dog’s health and well being, too!
If you have a dog who is unmotivated, lazy, and mostly sleeps all day instead of engaging in playtime with you, he is most likely suffering from this very epidemic of canine obesity.
All hope is not lost, though! With some discipline, some training with your dog food and a whole lot of fun, we can help our dogs lose weight, and stay happy at the same time!
Using Meal Time for Training Time:
There is great value in using your dog’s food for training exercises! When using your dog’s food, not only are you helping set a scheduled time for training, (preferably morning and evening), but you are also keeping your dog mildly active even when indulging in a great meal!
By using your dog’s mealtime for training time, you can do small exercises like practicing the recall, working on leash manners when on a walk, practicing the sit, down, or other related commands which all get your dog moving, but not to the point of a full-on workout!
Be careful not to have your pup moving around too much during food-training time, or we may see some tummy upset. A small amount of motion will help your dog stay active while enjoying a good meal and some one-on-one training time with you!
This method also helps you portion control for your pet!
An appropriate diet should be properly measured out with a standard measuring cup for each meal, fit to the size of your dog’s ideal weight.
This means, to ensure your dog is getting the right amount of food, you should do some research, or consult your veterinarian, and measure out the appropriate amount of food he gets each day!
Staying Away From Human Food:
The next part to this new happy, healthy diet is making sure your pup is getting little-to-no human food! This is a difficult one for many owners because let’s be honest, who can resist those puppy eyes!
Giving human food to your pup can be harmful, though, in both the training world and the nutrition world.
Dog’s are more sensitive to human food than we are, and calories add up! The top reason for dog obesity is an unhealthy diet of human food instead of dog food.
By sharing your human food with your dog, you may enforce bad habits like begging, barking or scavenging for floor scraps.
If you don’t like your dogs picking from your plate or off the counter, you should consider teaching a “place command” to get them away from your food, and away from those unhealthy calories!
A good alternative to sharing table scraps would be finding a great brand of dog treats for your pup to enjoy during your mealtime, or filling a Kong toy at your pup’s “place” while you eat! For some recommended snacks click here.
If you really must share your snacks with your dog, you could instead share some healthier snacks such as carrots, peas, cucumber, apple slices, bananas, pumpkin, strawberries, etc. Try to stay away from seasoned meats and salty snacks, as dogs are very sensitive to many common human seasonings.
Using Play Time to Provide Exercise:
Once you’ve got the dieting down, get active! Playing games like “tug” and “fetch” are great ways to get your dog running and playing, while also solidifying your relationship with your dog.
By using play as a regular exercise, you are not only helping to keep him healthy and fit, but you are also teaching him that paying attention to you is a great time!
You can also use play as a form of reward for your dog when training! It is a great alternative to treats if it is the right motivator for your dog!
By using these tips and tricks to help keep your dog away from that 53% of overweight to obese dogs in America today, you can keep your dog happy AND healthy!
Always remember to consult your veterinarian for help with portion control, proper food and treat brands, and routine check-ups to ensure your pet is a healthy weight!
We all want our beloved fur-babies to live forever, so keeping them at a healthy, fit body size is essential in keeping them around for a good long while!
So remember the benefits of training your dog with food.
Receive your free dog training consultation and set your pup up for success!