80% of vets note an increase in the number of pets coming into their offices overweight and sadly research backs up that obesity in pets has become increasingly common.
Whenever your dog does something cute, though, it’s just so tempting to give her a treat so she doesn’t feel left out.
But as a dog owner, you have to resist that urge - it’s your responsibility to watch your furry friend’s weight. How often, then, should you let your dog have a special treat?
Find Your Dog’s Average Weight
For starters, you should research what the ideal weight is for your dog. Different breeds have different needs. A chihuahua, for example, will have to have fewer treats over the course of a week then a chocolate lab if you want her to maintain her ideal weight.
Once you have that number in your head, you can determine what you need to do in order to keep your dog healthy. You can start by learning how to resist your dog’s begging. Begging, after all, is a learned behavior. You can also go on longer walks or spend more time outdoors playing.
Choose Healthy Treats
If you don’t think you can keep yourself from slipping your dog a treat beneath the table, then see if you can bring healthier treats into your home. These treats can include slices of watermelon, baby carrots, and scrambled eggs.
If you’re not in the mood to cook, though, you still have options. As human diets have become more organic, a number of brands have also worked together to create dog treats that are both green and health-oriented.
Integrating Treats and Play
Of course, there are many positive reasons for treating your dog. For example, you may also want to train your dog to associate receiving treats with playtime.
There are a number of enrichment toys available today that will make your dog work for her treat. Not only do these toys keep your dog from eating her treats too quickly, but they make her think, improving her ability to process the world and rewarding her for her effort.
It makes sense that you’d want to reward your dog for the cute things she does. However, by giving your dog too many treats, you may be putting her health at risk.
Give your dog treats with care, or see if you can swap some of her favourites for healthier substitutes. It may take some time, but she’ll learn to appreciate the new flavours you share with her.