Be vigilant! Perhaps the most important preventive measure of all – your love and caring attention! This means that you’ll have to pay attention to what the kids might be feeding the dog (remind them that chocolate, raisins, onions and other human foods are dangerous for dogs – in addition to the fact that he doesn’t need the calories!) and check on whether his Christmas sweater isn’t just a bit too tight. When you notice, you can do something about it, so be sure to keep an eye out!
Keep him active! With all of the office parties, neighbourhood get-togethers, kids’ recitals, and downright cold weather at this time of year, it’s easy to cut walks a bit short, or head home a bit early from the park. Resist this temptation! Staying active just that little bit longer helps both of you burn off a few extra calories – this can be all the difference between winter weight gain and New Year’s Resolution success!
Do the math. Don’t be scared – it’s just a little applied mathematical theory, and it’s quite simple: If your furry friend is eating his full daily calorie allowance in kibble, plus he’s getting another round of calories in treats, snacks and goodies, that adds up to be too much! Adjusting amounts as needed to prevent weight gain is a simple fix.
Treat him well! Measure out the correct amount of his daily kibble for his size, age and lifestyle according to the package instructions (a bit less if he needs to lose weight), but try not to feed it all at once. Instead, divide it into a few portions: breakfast, then a few kibbles here and there fed individually as treats, then dinner, with another few kibbles later as post-play treats to keep him delighted all day!
Give him what he really wants! When he begs for a bit of your holiday latke, it’s not really the food that he’s asking for: what he’s really saying is “I want what you have, because I love you and admire you”. As a suitable answer, give him a good scratch behind the ears or on the belly and tell him you love him too – in terms he’ll understand far better than food!