Being a dog trainer I am ashamed to say that my dog is overweight, gone is her perfect tucked tummy and good nice waistline instead she's podgy and her ribs are not easy to feel. I spent months saying 'Oh she needs to lose weight, I'll watch what I feed her' I did try but I didn't try hard enough. So in January 2021 I decided enough was enough, it was time to shed the weight!
I should add Luna is a beagle and they are one of the breeds that are prone to suffer with their weight but really that is no excuse. Luna doesn't go to the fridge and fix herself up a snack, it's me who provides all her meals and treats. I am responsible for her weight gain.
The dog food industry is huge, it's overcrowded and the information out there is not easy to follow. Being knowledgeable about dog food is something that comes with my job, I am passionate about recommending good brands to my clients, brands that use good quality ingredients and don't fill their foods with rubbish. I like to help educate my clients on how to read food labels so that they know exactly what their dog is eating. Since putting Luna on a weightloss plan I can't quite believe the difference in calories per 100grams between brands, it's so worth working out the calories that are in 100grams in your dog's food, the difference can be huge!
In order for me to shift Luna's weight, I had to get help. I reached out to Lawrence at The Pet Nutritionist. We had a consultation to go through Luna's story and work out the best and safest way for her to shift the pounds. We switched Luna back onto a raw diet, I did used to raw feed her but I had recently put her onto a good quality kibble so I could use the biscuits as treats in the aid to reduce extra treats. It was important that I counted every calorie that I gave Luna in a day, she has a total of 700 calories a day. I didn't think that seemed like much but actually, once I worked out the calories in what I was feeding her it was amazing the extras she could eat, it was just about finding low-calorie options.
The plan is, she's now on a calorie-controlled diet and she's getting more exercise in different forms. I have a Fitbark attached to Luna's collar, it tracks and logs all her daily activity, this has really helped me to make sure she is getting plenty of exercise and activity in the day.
I stopped all shop-bought treats, I was amazed by the calorie content in treats, it's no wonder a lot of our dogs are overweight. I bought a dehydrator to make my own treats which allows me to keep a count of the calories and I know what she's eating. I use lots of vegetables and a small amount of fruit for training treats. I also put her raw food into squeezy shampoo bottles so that I can feed her some of her meals during a walk.
I log everything at the end of the day to make sure that she hasn't gone over her allowance. I weigh her every week, and so far she's lost 4 pounds.
It is so dangerous for a dog to be overweight, they are more prone to illness and they won't live as long. If you think your dog is overweight please act on it and do something about it. I for one want Luna to be around as long as possible and with a clean bill of health.
A great way to work out if your dog is overweight is to work out their Body Condition Score. The aim is to be ideal.
Imagine taken from https://occupaws.org/body-condition-score/
Luna has a long way to go until she is ideal but I am more determined than ever. Writing this blog post also makes me accountable.
Monday 1st March
This post may be a bit of a diary...