Find food that fits your pet’s needs
Find a dog food that fits your pet’s needs
Find a cat food that fits your pet’s needs
Pet owners love to treat their dogs. We like treats and nice food, so of course we want to share that with our pets. It gives us real pleasure to see them enjoying something we’ve given. The problem is that what looks like a small treat to us can be the equivalent of a double cheeseburger to a dog!
Sadly, obese dogs are becoming more and more common, with around 40% of dogs in Europe thought to be overweight or obese. Many human foods can be dangerous for dogs too, especially around the holidays when there are treats everywhere. Here are some tips to help over the Christmas period:
Be a watchful pet parent
Perhaps the most important preventive measure of all is your love and caring attention! This means that you’ll have to be vigilant, paying attention to what the kids might be feeding the dog, too. Remind them that, in addition to the fact that they don’t need the calories, chocolate, raisins, onions and other human foods are dangerous for dogs.
But who watches the watchmen? Make sure you’re on the same page as any other pet co-parents or visitors when it comes to feeding your pet and make sure you’re not doubling up on treats. You can only take action on the things you notice, so be sure to keep an eye out for rogue feeders within the household!
Keep those paws moving
One incredibly effective tip is to simply stay active. With all of the office parties, family get-togethers, school productions, and cold weather at this time of year, it’s easy to cut walks a bit short or avoid muddy off-lead areas. Resist this temptation! Staying active and keeping up with your regular positive habits helps both of you burn off a few extra calories. A little rain brings out new smells for your curious friend to explore, and their muddy paws can be easily washed. After all, this could make the difference between winter weight gain and New Year’s Resolution success!
Don’t be scared – calorie counting is quite simple! If your furry friend is eating their full daily calorie allowance from their food, plus another round of calories in treats, snacks and goodies, that adds up to too much!
Treats should never be more than 10% of your dog’s daily calories, so try to keep them to a minimum. Measure out the correct amount of daily kibble based on size, age and lifestyle, according to the package instructions (stick to the lower end of the range if weight loss is needed), but try not to feed it all at once. Instead, divide it into four portions: breakfast, lunch and dinner, with the rest to be fed individually as treats, to keep them delighted all day!
Give them love, not calories! When your dog begs for a bit of your Christmas treat, give them extra attention, affection or play instead. A good scratch behind the ears tells them you love them in terms they understand, which is far better than any quick treat.
Reviewed by Dr. Hein Meyer, DVM, PhD, Dipl-ECVIM-CA and Dr. Emma Milne BVSc FRCVS