Knowing how to stop your pet putting on weight is important in keeping your pooch healthy and in shape, ready for their next walk and to stave off conditions like diabetes and arthritis.
But if you find yourself inside with your pet for a long period of time, you might be thinking more about how you can stop your pet putting on weight than normal.
Being worried about your pet’s weight is completely normal, as after all more than half of dogs in the UK are overweight – and that’s with their owners having the opportunity to take them on long walks!
So how can you stop your pet putting on weight?
Chad Dodd is a vet with YuMOVE, with over 20 years experience in keeping animals healthy.
Here, he gives his expert advice on everything you need to know about keeping the weight off your dog and making sure they stay healthy…
Teach them tricks
When keeping your dog active inside the home, it’s important to exercise their mind as well as their body. So practising a few basic tricks is a good way to keep their brains going and their paws moving.
Dr Dodd says the basics such paw, sit and roll, to weaving through the legs, picking up toys, fetching slippers and spinning are a great place to start. But he warns, “With this, ensure your pooch isn’t too senior and not currently experiencing joint stiffness when carrying out this activity.”
Play tug of war
“Get in touch with your dog’s instincts by tiring them out with a hefty game of tug of war.” Dr Dodd advises, “Establish your position as master and keep the mood light, although tug of war is great for tiring out your pooch, a competitive dog could be prone to get riled up.”
So stay cool and in control of your animal, breaking up the tug of war with other play and not rewarding aggressive behaviour is vital. Also, be sure the “war” is happening on a non-slip floor and try not to lift up your dog during the game.
Then after the game’s over, watch them fall asleep – worn out by all that activity!
Create an obstacle course
Just like small children, pups love an obstacle course. This is especially perfect if there’s not a whole lot of walking going on, as not only will they love the exercise but they’ll also be forced to engage mentally with the activity.
Ideas for the obstacle course with things you’ll already own:
- Jumping over chairs and circling around them
- Looping tables or running under them
- Create tunnels with blankets or use pillows
To keep your dog safe, be sure the activity isn’t done on wooden flooring or flooring that might result in your dog from slipping. A trip to the vets certainly isn’t part of this obstacle course!
Chase the bubbles
Who knew bubbles could be so useful in how to stop your pet putting on weight?
You could use just standard bubbles, but you can also get some made specifically for dogs. Dr Chad Dodd and the folks at YuMOVE are especially a fan of these ones because they’ll have your dog chasing, biting and popping bubbles until they are all worn out – and ready for a long snooze.
Play hide and treat
This is one of Dr Dodd’s favourite activities to keep a dog active indoors.
“One of my favourites is a playoff of the old game hide and seek. We call it hide and treat. Hide some kibble in favourite toys around the house and let your dog slowly go and find them and bring them back for a treat.”
He also suggests hiding the treats all over your house in tricky spots to keep your dog’s nose in action by sniffing out the goodies. When playing this game though, it’s probably a good idea not to hide them in places you’ll forget, or you’ll be trying to sniff out the treats for days on end!
Make food fun
But it doesn’t just have to be treats that are fun, says Chad. Food can be fun for dogs in lots of different ways.
He adds, “Try placing a healthy treat inside a puzzle and let your dog work throughout the day to get it out. Mental stimulation is just as important as physical activity when it comes to keeping your pet healthy.”
There’s quite a few puzzle food dispensers on market at the moment, but YuMOVE loves this one in particular. The Lesfit Pet Food Dispenser allows you to change difficulty settings depending on the dog or how much exercise you need them to get.
With these tips and tricks, your dog is sure to stay mentally switched on and physically healthy while you’re stuck inside. But don’t forget, you can also bring your pet to most places with you – so include a walk in your day-to-day life as often as your can.