Maintaining a #PerfectWeight With a Healthy Routine
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Maintaining a #PerfectWeight With a Healthy Routine

Regular dog walking is extremely important in keeping your dogs physically and mentally fit
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Written by Rachael Sando

This post is sponsored by Hill’s. We are being compensated for helping spread the word about Hill’s® Science Diet® Perfect Weight 10 Week Turnaround, but MyDogLikes only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc. is not responsible for the content of this article.

Last month, we shared the importance of finding your dog’s perfect weight. Pet obesity is no small problem and more than 50% of pets are considered overweight. Its easy to think that a few extra pounds won’t make a huge difference, but even a few extra pounds can negatively impact the quality and duration of  your best friends life.

Harley is our trusted navigator through Gosnell Big Woods Reserve in Webster, NY

Standing several inches taller than his breed standard (and brother); at 90-95lb Harley has always been a big boy. Despite falling at a healthy weight for his stature, we, along with his vet decided that as a senior citizen, his weight, mobility, and overall health would improve if he lost a few pounds.

Our handsome Golden Retriever Harley

Getting to the #perfect weight!

If your dog is overweight, it’s going to be OK. Getting your dog to his/her perfect weight is within your control and the emotional and physical benefits are often seen right away. As an added bonus, you may even start to see some improvements in your own health and well-being! In fact a 12-month study conducted by Hills Pet and the Wellness Institute of Northwestern Memorial Hospital found that dogs serve as a valuable social support for owners in weight loss/ management!

Establishing a Healthy Routine

One of the most important things that you can do to get your dog on track with his weight loss goals is to establish a routine. We know how busy things can get and the old adage “if you fail to plan, plan to fail” certainly rings true for busy pet parents!

So what makes up a healthy routine?

Exercise

There are countless ways to get your dog the exercise he/she needs.  

  • Daily walks and off leash playtime is a must for us. Before I get comfortable and take my shoes off after work, I grab the leashes. Once the boys see the leash in my hand I am on the hook for a walk!

The Fifth Paw leash attachment makes walking with 2 dogs much more manageable.

  • On the weekends we like to plan a longer activity like going for a hike, attending a pet friendly festival/event, or spending time at a local park.

Our Golden Retriever Charlie wading into Colton Pond near Killington, Vermont

Playgrounds are a great spot to get your dogs some exercise or practice some of their agility skills!

  • Short on space? Borrow some from a local organization! Charlie participates in agility class at our local humane society. When class is over Charlie is completely exhausted!.

Charlie traveling down the A-Frame in his dog agility course

  • It’s important to remember its not just the time your dog spends outside, but how he/she spends it. Hills offers some creative ways to exercise with a large dog or cat. Consider adding some high intensity fun and get that heart rate up!

Our dogs playing at the park during some off-leash time!

Diet

One of the best things you can do for your pet’s health is feed proper nutrition every day. Diets like Hill’s® Science Diet® Perfect Weight are specially formulated to help you manage your pets weight while offering 100% balanced nutrition. This is a great option for pets who require fewer calories due to lower activity, age, or being prone to weight gain.  Consult with your veterinarian and use the recommended daily feeding guide to make sure that you are feeding an appropriate amount.  Also make sure to use a measuring cup! Feeding a healthy diet and ensuring a good calorie in-calorie out ratio can help your pet be part of the 70% who lose weight on this formula!

Hills Science Diet logo - MyDogLikes is helping to spread the word about the Science Diet perfect weight formula

Snacks

Yes, plan snacks. Just a few too many treats every day can lead to serious weight gain. Plan when and where to give treats and adjust meal intake accordingly. We love treating with veggies from our lunch prep in the morning (carrots are a favorite) and we use small training treats when working on a skill during training.

It is important to keep in mind the caloric equivalent of human food for dogs - This treat translator graphic from Hills Pet can help!

The secret sauce….consistency and monitoring!

If you fall off the wagon and miss a few days exercise or give a few too many treats, don’t worry, get back on track and just keep on going. Weight loss is a journey and not a one time event. Plan out your activities for the week and include plans to exercise for your pet.

Hills 10 week Turnaround calendar is a great resource to help you get a plan in motion!

The Hills 10 Week Turnaround Calendar is a great tool to help your pet reach their weight loss goals

Now, take a look at an average week for us!

An example of a healthy weight routine for dogs

We love the balanced approach that Hills suggests to weight loss! After all, your pet’s health is not just about a healthy weight but an overall healthy lifestyle that includes grooming, cuddle time, play time, exercise, and diet!

Monitoring

Monitoring is key! Check in on your dog’s progress along the way. We love some of the suggestions that are made in the 10-week Turnaround calendar! While the number on the scale is important, consider measuring progress by taking photos, creating a fitness challenge, or taking measurements!

Keeping a close eye on your dogs weight is very important to their overall health. You can find a dog scale at most Veterinarians and many pet stores.

Creating something that works for your family’s lifestyle leads to sustainable, long-term change. When you start to see positive changes in you and your dog, you will be hooked on a life that incorporates healthy eating and fitness!

So what are you waiting for!? Download your 10-Week Turnaround Calendar and get started!

 

 

About the author

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Rachael Sando

Rachael is a School Psychologist with degrees from the University of Rochester and RIT. Though a lifelong dog lover, this passion has taken on a new direction through the utilization of therapy animals in her day job. Charlie, our Golden Retriever, works with Rachael as a school therapy dog in a local primary school where he brings comfort and support to students and staff on a daily basis.

46 Comments

  • Love your activity chart! Routine is so important for senior dogs. It helps them not only with weight but overall wellness. Your hiking place is gorgeous ! We would love to walk there too and play in the water.

    • Thank you! We love having a routine because we have harsh winters here and we would rather stay inside than march out for a walk in the cold. We do it because we are used to it! We wish we could walk and swim there everyday!

  • We obviously are big proponents of healthy weight so great post. Another key thing that people don’t think of is measuring their dogs food. What it says on the label is usually too much, so you have to be watchful of your dog and if they aren’t losing, then cut back on the food until they start to lose.

    • We agree. According to our bag of food we should be feeding nearly 3x’s as much! So important to watch their behavior, consult with vet, and check in with the scale! We have Harley down to 1cup/2x per day but he still acts very hungry so our vet suggested throwing in some veggies to help him feel a bit more full afterward!

  • Great points. Mom was working on my post in her head this morning, so it was a good morning to read yours to see if she has it all covered! Keep up the healthy lifestyle, boys!

    • Emma, we are sure that your post will be great. You are a very thorough dog blogger 🙂 Thanks for stopping in to check it out!

    • So true Jana! Sometimes with the best of intentions people show love for the dogs with food and snacks when really a walk or playtime says it so much better!

    • Thank you Beth! We certainly aren’t perfect and sometimes things come up and we break our routine but it keeps us on track for sure!

  • Our biggest issue with Science Diet is that it contains corn and wheat both of which are hard to digest and can contribute to allergy issues. 🙁 We feed corn, wheat, and soy free food to our pups.
    Aside from that we agree! A healthy dog is a happy dog! Keeping their weight under control is very important to leading long and happy lives.

    • We feed grain free to our boys as well, but we think Science Diet can be a great option for some people and pets! We love how they are interested in helping dogs to be healthy whether they eat their food or not! Be sure to check out some of their activity ideas we linked to!

  • Excellent information – sort of covers all good topics. Extra-long outings or special activities is a favourite for me and my dog. Keeps us both healthy!

  • Great photos! Charlie really gets in a workout 🙂 Routine is very important to achieving any goal, but particularly goals achieved through nutrition.

    • All things in moderation! A routine helps keep me going through the harsh winter so they don’t bulk up and get chubby!

  • Neat calendar. Mr. N is almost always skinny but we had a plump foster and we made sure he get regular walks and monitored his food allotment very closely. He was sure he was starving. But he thought that all the time.

    • Yes, when we went grain free the boys started eating less volume because it was more calorie dense. They sometimes like to pretend they are starving! Walks and exercise are so important!

  • My dog and I both need to take off a few pounds – a very harsh, cold, icy winter means we ate more than we should have. We are fans of Hill’s so thanks for the tips. Your dogs are gorgeous.

    • That was one thing we had to get used to when we switched our boys to a grain-free/raw diet. They eat so much less now!

  • Great tips and as you say finding a routine that works for your family is key. It’s only “work” until you get into the habit of it; then it becomes something you automatically do and it just becomes easier and easier. I love getting to go outdoors with Laika everyday for some nice walks and adventures; and on the weekends we get to mix things up and go out for play dates and to the park. It keeps it nice and exciting.

  • Love the food comparison chart. You’ve got some great ideas here. Gonna have to make a calendar myself. I also love the idea of finding exercises to do with my dogs.

    • They had so many great ideas! I had never really considered how a few extra treats could really add up. One of our favorite activities is to take the dogs to the playground at our local school, our very own agility course!

  • When my husband is in town we take the dogs out for a good 2+ mile walk at a pretty quick pace every day weather permitting. We just had our son so I have yet to work up to walk the dogs (four large dogs) while maneuvering a stroller just yet!

    • Victoria, that sounds very hard to juggle! I don’t think I could handle adding a baby to the mix on our walks….I think I would have to use a carrier! You will definitely figure it out, like we said in the post is about finding what works for your family (including the new addition).

  • Good ideas for activities. We are finally able to get out and train the dogs more. Hopefully soon the ponds will open so they can swim. 🙂 Thunder needs to drop a couple of pounds but usually by the end of May we are trying to put weight back on him…lol.

    • Our pups don’t seem to fluctuate on the low end…it seems like no matter how active we keep them they still gain a few lb each winter then lose it in the spring!

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