3 Easy Dog Diet Tips

Everybody wants their dogs to be healthy and happy. But how do you balance the joy of mealtime for your dog with maintaining a healthy weight? It’s so very hard to resist those puppy-dog eyes! Here are three dog diet tips that will keep the happiness while losing some calories.

#1: Swap low calories for high

Many dog foods are calorie-dense, especially dry foods that have little or no moisture content. But if you just decrease the amount of food, your dog may notice the change and wonder what the heck is going on. Instead, just replace a portion of the food with low-calorie, dog-safe options. 

Chopped vegetables in bowls to illustrate Dog Diet Tip #1: Replace calorie dense food with vegetables
Produce ready to go.

Frozen green beans are a great choice. They provide the satisfying crunch most dogs enjoy, while taking up lots of space for relatively few calories. You can use other vegetables or fruits as well, either frozen or raw. The caution here is to be aware that many fruits and some veggies are higher in calories or sugar. Most dogs love crunching carrots or apples. Our dogs also love celery, but that may be an acquired taste. 

If your dog is on a special diet for any medical reason, be sure to okay your substitutions with your veterinarian. It’s also smart to go slow when introducing a new food item. Some dogs may get upset stomachs with foods they’re not used to eating. 

#2: Ditch the dog bowl

There’s no particular reason to feed your dog from a bowl. In the last couple of years we’ve seen more and more options. Snuffle mats are becoming popular. As are feeding trays for dogs. And slow-feed bowls. Letting your dog play “hide and seek” with their food slows them down. 

Just like people, taking more time to eat allows their system the chance to recognize they’re feeling full. Which may mean your dog will be satisfied with less food. And you’ll avoid the guilty feeling that you’re depriving your dog. Even if there’s fewer pieces, the fun factor increases.

#3: Will work for food

Use their regular food as training treats. You may not have the time or opportunity to do this every meal, but that’s okay. At least one meal a day, have your dog do “stuff” for their food, or at least part of the meal. It doesn’t have to be anything complicated. A good round of “Puppy Pushups” is easy, fun, and fast. 

Interestingly, this technique works for dogs who are picky about their food. The same morsels they won’t touch when presented in a bowl become sought-after treats when used as rewards. It may be that hand-feeding makes the difference, but that’s okay.

Some people see hand-feeding as a sign that the dog is spoiled, or manipulative. Instead, look at it as a way to positively interact with your dog and reinforce the bond you have. 

Make it fun

Whether your goal is maintaining a healthy weight or losing some, these dog diet tips will help. And may even increase the happiness factor of your dog’s mealtime. 

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