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5 Tips to Help Your Dog Lose Weight

Dogs don't care how they look. They don't think "I've put on a couple of extra pounds around the middle, I better cut back on the dog chow for awhile." Nope. A dog will eat until the bowl is empty. You can help your overweight pooch to lose weight. In fact you�re the reason your buddy is plump. You're the one that fills up that bowl.

It's hard not to fall for those beseeching eyes that ask for just a few morsels more, that extra cookie from lunch, or the snack before bed. But for your dog's sake you need to harden your heart.

1. Measure your dog's food. If he's supposed to have one cup of dry food twice a day, don't eyeball it. Actually use a measuring cup. Don't fill the cup to overflowing. One cup means filled just to the brim. Treats have to be included in his daily intake. Decrease the dry food by the amount of the treats.

2. Don't free feed your dog. Free feeding means there's always food in the bowl and the dog eats when he's hungry; at least that's the theory. Some dogs will eat out of boredom just like people. Free feeding means you have the tendency to keep the bowl filled just in case the dog is hungry. Changing from free feeding to feeding measured amounts twice a day takes a little patience. Fill his bowl with half of his allotted food in the morning. After 30 minutes empty the bowl. At supper time fill with the other half of his allotted food and remove whatever is left after 30 minutes. After a few days your dog will realize meal time isn't anytime anymore.

3. Provide low calorie snacks like carrots, celery, or apple slices. The crunch means he'll be able to fulfill his desire to chew something. Peanut butter inside a toy, like a Kong, satisfies the chewing urge as well.

4. Increase exercise. Go slowly if your dog is obese or older. Start with a gentle walk around the block. Most dogs love to go for a walk. Increase the length of the walk gradually, perhaps a few extra minutes every day. After a few weeks start increasing the pace of your walk as well. As a bonus you might find yourself a few pounds lighter as well.

5. Increase active play periods. Any additional increase in exercise will help your dog lose weight. Start a game of fetch or catch the ball. Play tug of war or find the hidden toy.

Bonus Tip: Express your love for your dog with extra petting, cuddling, or attention, not extra food.

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