5 Tips to Help Keep Your Dog Fit and Healthy

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working out with dogsLast week we discussed the high cost of having an overweight dog.  This week we provide 5 tips to help keep your dog fit and healthy.  You will notice that most of these have to do with food and feeding.  That’s because the amount and quality of food you serve your dog is the single biggest factor on their weight!  As we often say in the human fitness world, “you can’t out exercise a poor diet!”

 

  1. Provide proper exercise for your dog.  Dogs need exercise!  They thrive on it.  Most dogs need 30 minutes or more each day of vigorous exercise depending on their age and medical history.  They will feel and look better.  So will you if you join them! Putting your dog out in the back yard does not count either.   And don’t let excuses get in the way.  Winter weather?  No problem.  Use a dog treadmill, try alternative exercises like core and balance training using balance cushions and wobble boards, or simply bundle up and get outside.
  2. Determine your dog’s daily calorie requirement to achieve or maintain their ideal weight.  Most people have no idea how many calories they should be feeding their dog, given their dog’s age, weight, and activity level.   The SlimDoggy iPhone app was created to supply this information. Or use the soon to be available SlimDoggy website Tracker Tool.  Remember that the more active your dog is, the more you can feed them.  If you exercise your dog more on the weekends, they can be fed differently than on the weekdays.Slimdoggy App
  3. Measure, measure and measure.   It is crucial to accurately measure how much you feed to make sure you stay within your dogs daily target range.  Use a measuring cup.  If you are a ‘high-tech’ person, or are not at home for long periods of time, there are actually some pretty amazing technologies and devices being created to help with the measurement problem.  PetNet.io is one company that is building an intelligent pet feeder that will help people address the overfeeding issue.  Definitely check them out!
  4. Account for treats.  We all love giving or dog treats and table scraps and there is nothing wrong with it.  You simply have to account for those calories and adjust your regular feedings accordingly.
    • Bonus tip: use small treats or break your treats into small pieces.  Your dog’s will get the satisfaction of a treat reward with only a fraction of the calories.
    • Bonus tip 2: use raw veggies as treats if your dog likes them.
  5. Learn to read dog food labels.  Your pet’s overall health is greatly impacted by both “how much” and “what” you feed your dog.  Spend some time examining your dog food labels and learn to spot healthy and unhealthy ingredients.   Use your analysis to buy the best food possible given your budget.  For more tips on how to read a food label, check out our food category. Or visit our soon to be published website dog food page where you can search and view dog food calories, ingredients, and more.

 

Of course, check with your vet whenever you are considering a marked change in your dog’s exercise routine or diet.

 

Follow these 5 tips and your dog will be a “lean, mean, fighting machine” in no time! (With apologies to the late, great John Candy).

 

 

FitDog Friday

 

Please enjoy our FitDog Friday Blog Hop brought to you by SlimDoggy and our co-hosts Peggy’s Pet Place and To Dog With Love. Join the Hop or just enjoy the links below – lots of fun fitness tips and advice!

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36 Comments

  1. Great tips as always! We are constantly learning and adjusting around here in regards to amount we feed- when we’re doing a lot of training, like in preparation for a trial or show, we feed more treats and less food! But the dogs health is always worth learning, adjusting, relearning, readjusting and learning again!
    Bethany recently posted…A Long Walk In A Downpour And Only The Dogs Got WetMy Profile

  2. Hey Slimdoggy! Great information as always! Thanks so much for all of the helpful information that you share. I have a special thank you on my blog today, Friday. Please stop by for a visit.
    Bark more Growl less from Barking from the Bayou
    M. K. Clinton recently posted…Let the Sunshine InMy Profile

  3. Hi Y’all,

    Always useful reminders! Especially this winter!

    Y’all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog
    Hawk aka BrownDog recently posted…It’s Happy Fitness Time, It’s Happy Fitness Time!My Profile

  4. My mom is a serious John Candy fan. He was awesome and died way too young. We have a few of your tips in play on my post today. Mom doesn’t count our calories or hers, but we use a measuring scoop and she can be real picky and stingy on the treats. As long as her clothes fit and our fur is not getting tight we are good to go. Of course, all of us, even Mom get on the scale at the doctor where we can really check the poundage but we all seem to stay the same. Great post again!
    emma recently posted…Staying Fit at Emma’s B & B | GBGV | FitDog FridayMy Profile

  5. Great tips! Measuring food is key for us. Rocco is a little guy and we can go through lots of treats (even small ones) in training, so sometimes we measure out a meal and use the entire meal for training treats.
    Your pals,
    Diane and Rocco
    Diane recently posted…Having Fun With Your PuppyMy Profile

    • That’s such a great idea. So many people give a regular meal and then use treats for training…feeding double the amount and then wonder why their dog is overweight!
      mkob recently posted…5 Tips to Help Keep Your Dog Fit and HealthyMy Profile

  6. Great Tips!
    Love “Bonus tip 2: use raw veggies as treats if your dog likes them.”
    Ponchos success in our weight loss update loves carrots! Most dogs also go crazy for them

  7. This is a great piece! I am going to go check out the SlimDoggy app now! 🙂
    Miranda recently posted…WW: “Oh, so I shouldn’t jump the fence then?”My Profile

  8. Love, love, LOVE the tips you’ve outlined here! Many dog owners don’t realize how important a proper feeding schedule is and what big of an impact it has on the overall quality of life of our furry companions. I’ve actually just written another article on puppy feeding earlier today, hoping to assist in the confusion of how much and when to feed a puppy for optimum health.

    Thanks for sharing!
    Ruan recently posted…How Much to Feed a Puppy: The Feeding ScheduleMy Profile

  9. You also forgot the late great and just lost Harold Ramis in the picture a Chicago native who wrote Stripes and I think directed & produced it.

    Thanks you for the great tips I know mom tries to do most of that. I just hurt my shoulder so I am on rest for a few days then I’ll be back to my long walks! Love Dolly
    Dolly the Doxie recently posted…Fitdog Friday: Agility FunMy Profile

  10. We are trying not to make excuses anymore and getting Nailah out on longer walks. It’s obvious she needs the increased exercise time! Thanks for the tips! 🙂
    Nailah Bone recently posted…FitDog Friday – Increasing our Walk TimeMy Profile

  11. Great tips! I found out today I need to exercise Glory for a longer time before we go to therapy visits. She was a nut case today! This winter had turned her into a nut case. LOL
    Sand Spring Chesapeakes recently posted…FitDog Friday~SnowbankMy Profile

  12. Great tips. We follow all of them, except that Rita hates veggies. 🙁 There are a handful of cooked veggies she’ll eat so we tery to give her those as often as possible. She’s so weird. Hates carrots. LOVES cooked kale!
    Jackie Bouchard recently posted…FitDog Friday: Five Ways To Rev Up Your Walk with RoverMy Profile

  13. John Candy!!! He was a great man! So so so funny!!!!!
    Wonderful tips as always Slim, I have used many of them throughout this winter!
    Have a great weekend!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!
    Jenna,Mark “HuskyCrazed” Drady recently posted…Friday Growls! : Guilty Husky destruction!My Profile

  14. Those are great tips. We try to stick to small low cal treats. I use crunchy ones because it takes more time for them to chew and they can’t just swallow them down.

    Gosh it will be nice when we can get back to training after work. We will have enough daylight after the time change, but there is still a lot of snow and some ice.
    2 brown dawgs recently posted…A Good Work OutMy Profile

  15. We keep a measuring cup in Onyxx’s food bin. Makes things easier.
    Tenacious Little Terrier recently posted…FitDog Friday #23 – Spring is on its wayMy Profile

  16. These are all good tips. I’m intrigued by the automatic pet feeder. We just keep the measuring cup in the food bin.

  17. Those are great tips and I’m thrilled to say we do all of those things. Of course, we learned a lot of it from you. 🙂 That is exciting you’ve got some new website features coming out too!
    Jan K recently posted…FitDog Friday – An Unexpected SurpriseMy Profile

  18. I agree that food is the biggest factor in determining your dog’s weight. People often ask me how I keep Chester and Gretel so thin and I jokingly say “I starve them”. I then go on to clarify that I don’t overfeed them. I give them just what they need and no more (except for special occasions). If I am doing a lot of training then I will reduce the amount of food I give them at meals to compensate. Luckily, their “dinner satisfaction” trigger is “food in the dish” rather than a set amount of food. They will always act like they are starving but I just have to stay strong.
    Jessica recently posted…But Seriously, How Do You Sleep at Night?My Profile

    • I hear you – Jack and Maggie are always ready for a meal…but even a carrot stick takes the edge off.
      mkob recently posted…Crufts Labrador WinnersMy Profile

  19. One thing that we do today is account for treats. We won’t increase serving amounts when training is happening later that day. It’s really helped to keep our dogs slim and trim.

    I’m on my way to bed, when you reply (please reply), will you link to the article you referenced in your first paragraph? I’m behind on my blog reading. thanks 🙂
    Kimberly Gauthier recently posted…Buy a Keep the Tail Wagging Tee and Save a Dog’s LifeMy Profile

  20. I feel sorry for my dog since I have been so occupied with work this couple of months I haven’t bonded with him for a long time now. It sounds like I’m making excuses for neglecting him, well he is not exactly neglected, my dad takes him to walk every morning and afternoon he gets the exercise he needs. He just lacks the kind of loving he can only get from me. From now on, I shall do my best to bond with him and be a responsible parent.

  21. CRUCIAL things to keep in mind – thanks for sharing! I love the raw veggies as treats! Ever heard of a puppy absolutely LOVING cucumber? You should hear the sounds coming out of that mouth hahaha! Ours eat it like kids chow on sweets or chocolate… 😉
    Ruan recently posted…How To Crate Train A PuppyMy Profile

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