The American public is being made increasingly aware that their nutrition poor diets rob them of health and longevity of life. It is time this awareness is passed on to the overfeeding of the pets of this nation. As people become sedentary it is easy to keep your dog sedentary with you. It is obvious that if you do not take a walk after dinner to work off a few calories then your Chihuahua is not going to get any exercise either. Whether it is from laziness or the feeling that the pet needs to be spoiled we are robbing our animals from longevity of life and the ability to be healthy throughout that life. Overweight dogs, as are overweight humans, are at increased risks for heart diseases, diabetes, arthritis or other life threatening conditions.
The family pet is at the mercy of the humans in the household when it comes to meal time and snack time. The only way to instill discipline of a healthy diet in your animal is to give that animal a proper and healthy diet. We all have looked at those big brown pleading eyes during our mealtime and have had to fight the desire to slip good old Rosco a tidbit of steak or two. Then there is the bit of ice cream left in your late night snack bowl that you allow him to lick out. Or at cookie time (of course this is a reward for the long walk you both just took) the tendency is to slip more treats than necessary to that great companion and friend. Guess what? Unless you do take those long walks and cease the ice cream bowl treats then your dog is going to be overweight. Time to take stock of how you feed him, what you feed him, and when you feed him as well as how MUCH food is actually ingested throughout the day. When you convince yourself it is time for weight reduction then it is time for a visit to the vet. Get a once over for the dogs health and then sit down with the doctor and work out a proper and nutritionally satisfactory diet.
Now you have a plan in hand it is time to get on with the weight reduction plan. You should no longer say to your wife “Rosco just won't shut up unless I give him a treat" Or, " Rosco needs his piece of beef jerky before bedtime to chew on and help him relax" Or, the extra special excuse-"Honey it doesn't hurt to let him lick the ice cream bowl there just are not that many calories there". All negative conditioning. Your dog knows you very well and is aware that if he becomes a big enough nuisance you will treat him in order to get him to do what you want him to do. See the problem? Your fat dog is there because of you and he will continue to get more and more overweight if you keep feeding and treating him this way.
So no more table scraps and no more chunks of beef jerky. Get on the internet and find the food stuffs that hold the proteins, fats and carbohydrates that your vet has suggested in the meal plan. Find out how to properly balance the diet for the dog and keep with it. Come to grips with the fact that this is a joint venture between you and the dog and you have to be in charge.
The diet plan supplied by your vet will probably average out to a reduction in groceries of about one-third for the beginning of this diet. So the trick here is to make sure you have recorded his beginning weight and are capable of maintaining a set schedule. Deal is that your dog will not overeat unless you over feed him. So don't. Take the opportunity to join the pup on this venture. You cannot give him extra steak from your dinner if you no longer have big steaks that you do not finish. No more snacks for either of you and at the end of a two week period you may just find that Rosco has dropped more than an ounce or two.
If there is any weight loss then you have a victory. Just as you feel better when you do not bloat yourself with food your dog is probably feeling better also. Time now to include longer walks and more play time with a ball or fetch stick. The continued dietary fare and increased exercise will speed up the cycle and pretty soon you will have a happier and healthier dog.
Remember, there are far better ways to show your friend that you love him than with too many snacks. Increased time for play and other interactions will most certainly be better received by the dog than when he was eating from that overstuffed food bowl all alone. You should never again have the feeling that Rosco is missing our on life because you do not over fatten then with unnecessary foods or treats.