The Festive Season is nearly upon us – the time of year when we eat more than we should and exercise less than we might. Our waistlines often take on a few extra inches as a result, and our pets often find that they’re carrying around more weight than usual too.

Our furry friends rely on our guidance to get back into shape, and they can suffer from joint health and diseases like pancreatitis, heart disease and diabetes if they’re not in tip top condition.

In the article to follow, we’ll outline a few tips to help your dog beat the bulge.

Step 1. Know your dog’s ideal – and current – weight.

Speak to your veterinarian about your dog’s ideal weight. This will depend on breed, height, age and more. To see what they’re weighing currently, pick up your dog and stand on the scales. Subtract your weight from the final figure to get the amount.

Step 2. Reduce portion sizes

A higher proportion of protein vs. carbs is a surefire way to help any animal lose weight. But radically altering a diet can be disruptive, so start by reducing portion sizes.

Step 3. Give them more water

Water is satiating and helps an animal feel fuller for longer. Make sure the water bowl is regularly topped up with fresh, clean water.

Step 4. Swap out calorific treats for low-calorie alternatives

Treats are a great way to train a dog and reward them for good behavior. But too many snacks can cause problems. A great low-calorie alternative is air-popped popcorn: delicious, satisfying and low in calories, it’s the perfect snack.

Step 5. Ensure your dog isn’t eating leftovers

Many dogs are undercover food thieves: they’ll steal a bite here or there or finish off an unattended plate. Feed your dog before you sit down to eat and clear away any scraps before your dog can get to them.

Step 6. Make mealtimes consistent

Dogs are less likely to steal food when they know they’re getting their own meals at set times of the day. Most dogs require at least two meals a day, morning and evening. Put a schedule in place and stick to it.

Step 7. Stick to a walking schedule.

Walking is a great bonding activity, and an excellent way to burn fat. A daily 40-minute walk is more than enough, though heavier-set breeds might be better suited to shorter routes. If you’re inconsistent with the walks you’re going on, implement a strict schedule at a similar time every day. Your dog will begin to look forward to these excursions and will shed pounds at the same time.

Step 8. Play fetch in the local park

If you’re lucky enough to live near an open field or park, grab yourself a frisbee or ball and play fetch with your canine friend. It’s a good training activity and a fantastic way to burn calories.

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