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Make Dieting Fun and Bring Back the Focus for Food!

By Anna Webb Broadcaster, Nutrition & Behaviour expert has studied with the College of Integrated Veterinary Therapies 2 years ago 2535 Views

Nobody likes to hear that your beloved pooch is porky and needs to lose a few pounds. It’s a moment of disbelief that you’ve let your dog down.

The PDSA ( revealed that one in three dogs in the UK is clinically obese, making a slim dog in the minority.

Feeling guilt about killing your dog with kindness, an impending diet brings an added stress with the planning and consistency that’s needed.

Dieting is about a mind set and turning a negative into a positive. The reward is your dog will be slimmer and healthier in a relatively short time.

I’ve fallen victim to simply not ‘seeing’ that my elegant, slim lined re-homed English Toy Terrier, Mr Binks, had gained some weight over Christmas.

After all you see your pooch everyday, and fat has a habit of creeping up on you, especially after the Christmas holidays.

I got a stark reminder for not paying attention to Mr Bink’s Body Condition score when a friend dared to comment that he was looking a bit plump.

The problem with being overweight is that carrying excess pounds promotes ‘fat’ related conditions like diabetes, heart disease and arthritis.

For Mr Binks the situation was worse as he suffers from Legg Calves Perthes Disease.

It’s a degenerative condition, which affects his hip joints. As a result, he only has one hip, his left one was removed at only nine months. Staying light is a perquisite to him coping.

It hasn’t been a drastic diet, but the weight gain was enough when you’re the second smallest breed of dog from 6.5 KG down to 5.8 KG.

I’d become complacent about his Body Condition Score, which are numbers from 1-5 that reflect a dog’s fat percentage and shape.

Ideally a dog should be at number three, that’s about 15 -20% fat. Mr Binks’ score was heading to a number four!

He’d become a bit ‘oblong’ when viewed from above and had lost his hour-glass waistline.

His calorie intake had to be halved to his target ‘resting energy requirement’, with just a meagre 130 calories a day.

Although at first Mr Binks’ rations made his bowl look half empty, I had to trick him into thinking his bowl was half full.

Making a meal out of mealtimes, I’ve spread his calories into three tiny portions using a KONG or slow feeder bowl.

Feeding a complete balanced raw diet from Natural Instinct is an advantage over kibble as it’s easy to squash into these interactive toys.

I never suggest a kibble based diet for shifting excess pounds as its ingredients and processing make it ‘high-glycemic’. It is full of non-species appropriate sugars, which offer little nutritional value, and turn to fat very quickly.

Making Mr Binks’ dinner mentally stimulating would tire him. He’d feel more satisfied, not least as Natural Instinct offers a nutritious ‘species appropriate’ diet.

Too much cupboard love can make a dog complacent about their food. Harnessing Mr Binks drive for food has been an up-shot of his dieting.

Rewards need not be at all calorific. I’ve factored in wafer thin vegetable and fruit treats to punctuate his daily diet routine with training and proactive playtime.

He loves his meat and has never been keen on veggies ‘on their own’, but who knew he’d develop a taste for a juicy blueberry reward for his sit/stay.

Luckily Mr Binks gets his portions of fruit and veggies pre-prepared in every complete meal of Natural Instinct.

I’ve also factored a healthy raw Play Bone from Natural Instinct to keep him busy through the day and clean his teeth too!

Rich in essential nutrients it’s made his smaller portions appear to go further.

We’re three weeks in and Mr Binks has lost weight. We have a little more to go before he’s back to his signatory svelte shape.

Here’s to Mr Binks not tipping the scales as a national statistic!

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