Week 2 Lesson 2
Congratulations on providing your dog a healthy diet and activity level!
Right now, your dog is adjusting to their low calorie, high protein diet. In addition to weight management, this recent dietary switch may be associated the following:
Changes in stools
Owners often report an increase in frequency and sometimes the size of their dog’s stools. This can occur if the fibre content of your diet food is higher than in your dog’s regular diet. This is a harmless side effect which will soon be reversed once your dog reaches their optimal weight and transfers to a maintenance diet. A little extra poop scooping is really a small price to pay for the added vitality your dog will soon experience!
Changes in appetite
Some owners may notice an increase in begging behavior. If this occurs, it is important to decipher whether the begging is simply a habit or attention based. Take a step back to assess whether your dog really is hungry. Are they displaying actual signs of hunger such as bin raiding and table top snatching?
If you find yourself dealing with a hungry hound please follow these 6 recommendations:
- Feed a larger portion for breakfast e.g. feed two thirds of your dog’s daily food intake at breakfast and the remainder at dinner time.
- Try splitting your dog’s intake over several smaller meals e.g. 3 to 4 meals per day.
- Ensure your dog’s food contains a suitable protein content. Protein requirements are determined by your dog’s healthy target weight. See Prep Step 4.
- Instead of providing food when your dog begs, provide attention and play a game. Break the begging cycle!
- Lengthen your dog’s meal time by using a slow-feeder bowl or by scattering dog biscuits around the house or garden.
- Give time for your dog’s appetite to adjust. This usually occurs over the course of a few weeks.
(Tips can be viewed in our How to Beat Hunger infographic.)
Perhaps your dog is showing signs of food refusal or fussy eating?
If your dog is turning down their food, please read our Tips to deal with food refusal.
A healthy mouth and teeth are incredibly important to your dog’s well-being. And the best way to ensure your dog’s teeth stay in working order is to provide a dry food diet and plenty of chews.
The options for chews are endless. With some of them healthy and others not so!
Please remember to count chews within your dog’s calorie or treat quota. But beware! Many chews are high in calories and can quickly exceed your dog’s daily calorie allowance! For more information on dental chews and dental hygiene read Dental Chews and Oral Hygiene.
TIP: At close to 300 calories per ear, dried pig’s ears are not a good option for dieting dogs. Marrow bones also pack a calorie punch with 1 ounce (28 g) of marrow containing 250 calories! Healthier alternatives are Nylabones or specially formulated low-calorie chews.
Tips to commit to your activity plan
Are you struggling to fit in your dog’s walks? Apply these tips to help make walkies habit:
- Create a routine and set walk reminders. Schedule your dog’s walks into your diary or WAGSTA app.
- Encourage early morning starts. Set your alarm and have your clothes, shoes and leash ready the night before.
- Go to bed a little earlier so you are not tempted to sleep in and miss your morning walk.
- Remember to record your dog’s workouts with your WAGSTA app walk tracker. Watch your walk tally grow!
- Find a walking buddy. Get social and stay accountable to others.
A walking companion is great for motivation and providing reassurance. Especially for owners of very obese dogs who may be afraid of judgement from others.
Tip: Should you receive negative comments about your dog’s weight, use it as an opportunity to explain that your dog has commenced a weight loss program and you are taking proactive steps to help your dog lose weight. It is surprising how judgemental people often become your greatest supporters!
Woofs and wags,
Your WAGSTA team.
P.S. All articles and infographics contained in your weekly lessons can be accessed via the Resources tab.