If you are a chocoholic person, your dog is a treat-a-holic who loves those banana and peanut butter treats you gave him during training sessions. Dogs love to eat between the meals and if we give them a taste of the treat every now and then, they develop the unhealthy habit of overeating.
If you have shown a little negligence in the beginning or for your first pet, what can be done about it? Here are some practical tips to stop your dog from overeating:
1. Review the Dog’s Feeding Schedule:
We overlook the fact that dogs do not understand when they should stop feeding on things that they come across during the whole day. The gregarious muncher wouldn’t stop unless you tell him to.
Have you been careful about your pooch’s health and fitness? Have you been continuously feeding it table scraps and training treats along with daily meals?
Three Pet Feeding Schedules:
There are different ways to feed the pet, that is, free choice, limited amount, and limited time.
Some dog owners give the dog a free choice to eat whenever he may feel hungry. This open choice is dangerous for dog’s health because dogs do not know when to say ‘No’ to the food. I would say they love food. If you absent-mindedly fill the dog bowl repeatedly, you are encouraging him to eat more.
There are some really careful and concerned dog owners who fill the dog food bowl at specific times with a specific quantity. This schedule lets the dog follow a routine and not get into the habit of overeating.
Other dog owners provide the food for a limited time at a specific time of the day. It trains the pooch to eat it on time because he will not be fed in between the meal times. They do not depend on munching the whole day.
Remember: Dog food that’s left out in the open isn’t hygienic and healthy for the pooch. Critters and bugs may contaminate the food if it has been left in the bowl for too long.
2. Change the Routine:
Step #1: If you are the one who encouraged overeating in the pooch, you can tone down the appetite by giving him a limited amount of food many times a day. Divide the daily calorie needs into small amounts. As the dog is used to munching on everything, provide him less-favorite and low-calorie foods mixed with regular meals to curb his desire for eating so often.
Step #2: If you are feeding the dog eight times a day, cut it down to seven times per day gradually. Once the dog gets used to it, continue to cut down the meal times unless he is back to 2 to 3 meals per day standard routine.
Note: Be cautious to never feed him in between the meals during and after changing the diet and schedules.
3. Feed Healthy Dog Food:
Some dog owners forget the importance of ‘balanced and complete diet’ for the dog’s health and well-being. They find it hectic to measure the calories all the time. But, it is necessary for the dog to eat clean, healthy and balanced diet. Find the best and affordable brand that provides a balanced diet to the pooch.
Healthy food is often the least-favorite one for the Gregarious Muncher. A healthy diet includes omega-3 fatty acids, proteins, vitamins, and minerals. The required amount of fat can be obtained through chicken, lamb, beef or pork. However, feeding gravy or meat daily can make the dog put on extra pounds so limit serving it regularly.
Extra Tip: Never forget to fill the water bowl to keep the pooch stay hydrated.
4. Food and Exercise Balance:
If the dog is still eating more than his needs, balance it with an extended exercise and playtime. Oftentimes, dog owners make the mistake of feeding the pooch his daily meals but never think of taking him out for play or a walk. What happens? Like you, the pooch becomes lazy and inactive.
Did you know inactivity is a silent killer too? If you really care for the poor furr-end, you’ll have to take him out for walks daily. Yes, it will be really difficult at first to allure the lazy pet into play and walk. However, do not make the mistake of alluring him using treats.
5. Use Training Treats Smartly:
Most dog-owners make the mistake of using treats to attract the dog into behaving well or following their orders. Such training has long-term consequences.
- The dog never obeys you without a treat.
- Too many treats create an imbalance in dog’s daily food requirements.
- Training treats contain a lot of extra calories that your pet doesn’t need. Count them with the dog’s daily calorie count.
Excessive treats can cause plague to build up on teeth, so regular brushing or dental chews are required. Find here what’s best for your dog’s teeth?
6. No Table Scraps:
Dogs love to snack on the food we are eating and their cute face can melt our hearts way too easily. Prevent the dog from snacking on table scraps once you are done eating because it can turn him into a food beggar and food stealer. It’s best to divide their daily meals according to your schedule so they do not beg for food when you are with the guests or family.
Keep the leftovers out of the reach of the dog. Tell your children to stop feeding the dog any table scraps. They may take your permission before feeding the dog anything extra so you can keep a check on calorie-count.
7. Find the Reason Behind Over-Eating:
If your dog still acts hungry all the time, he must be facing some physical or psychological issue. Find out if your dog is suffering from any of the following problems:
- Hormonal Imbalances (due to diabetes or hypothyroidism)
- Damage to Central Nervous System (due to trauma, head injury, lesions caused by parasites, etc.)
The first two reasons can be handled with a bit of effort, but you should consult the vet for the last two ones.
8. Bowl Size:
The bowl of the dog should be of a specific size to hold the food that’s required for him. It shouldn’t be too big or too small according to the meal size. Deceive the pup by using an appropriate size bowl and filling it up. If the pooch isn’t satisfied, divide the daily portion into treats and meals.
9. Eat Slow:
Bloating is a common problem faced by dogs who over-eat. It happens because they eat way to fast without chewing the food properly. In such cases, the nutrition of food doesn’t benefit the dog’s body completely. Bring your Fido a special bowl with interior indentations that can force him to chew the food slowly.
10. Appreciate More Often:
The dog will show his cute, big eyes all the time to get some extra food or treat. You must resist giving in to the cuteness. Distract and engage him in play or a walk. Spend some time with the pooch daily to show your love and care for the furr-end. Appreciate him more during play, walk or exercise. You can join doga sessions with him to lose weight together.
A trick for the Treat: Give him treat-dispensing toys or puzzles that will engage him for hours. Appreciate him for solving the puzzles and getting the treats out.