January 4, 2013

The Dog Weight Loss Mealtime Secret

Filed under: dog weight loss — Tags: , , — Dr. Amber Reed @ 4:10 pm

Mealtime is often about socialization; going out to lunch with friends, eating dinner with your family or even business dinner dates.

When families sit down at the table for dinner at night, they use that time to catch up on that day’s events. But this doesn’t only include the humans in the family.

Fido is in on the meal time socialization, too. And it changes things.

Socializing over food can cause both people and dogs to overeat.

Think about the common interactions that you have with your pet every day. During your dinner time, your pet probably hangs around the table either eating his own food or begging for yours.

Maybe you slip him a piece of food here or there. Or maybe you serve him his own dinner at this time.

When you feed him snacks, you usually use them as rewards, praising him, petting him and showering him with affection. This changes things psychologically, for your dog. Your dog will do things that he thinks will cause you to give him the good stuff: treats and praise.

Just like humans, this relationship between food and socialization can cause dogs to overeat. That can cause weight gain.


The Science Behind the Dog Weight Loss Secret

Scientists studies cat and dog eating patterns. They found that when allowed to eat as much food as they choose with minimal human interaction, the animals ate only what was physically necessary.

However, when socialization was added to the mix, the animals ate to fulfill their social needs and not just their energy needs.

The conclusion? Animals will overeat if they relate it to praise, rewards or other human interaction.

In addition to praise, humans often provide their dogs with high calorie treats: dog snacks and human foods. These can be to encourage a finicky eater or as a symbol of guilt for leaving their dog alone.

The result is overfeeding, and dogs that are overeating because of it.


The Simple Dog Weight Loss Secret

Since dogs overeat because of bad social eating habits, the easiest thing to do is to introduce non-social eating.

Just like humans, weight loss in dogs happens when food is used as nourishment and not to fulfill any other purposes. Start by setting up standard meal times where your dog eats completely alone.

Don’t give praise while preparing or feeding your dog and don’t treat it as a reward. When trying to teach your dog a new behavior, avoid using treats when possible.

Use dog snacks sparingly. These have a lot of calories.

A majority of human food should be off limits to pets because of the high calorie count. After all, dog food is designed to fit the daily caloric and energy needs of your pooch.

If using a treat reward is necessary, consider using raw vegetables or berries. These are still tasty, but are a lot healthier.

However, as rewards, you should use petting, patting, sweet talk and even hair brushing. This way, your dog will still get the socialization that they crave from you without the extra fat.


About Dr. Amber Reed

has written 281 posts in this blog.

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