Feasting and food are everywhere during the holidays. Snacks for the on-the-go, the kitchen abuzz with commotion and delicious smells, and even family and friends who may not be aware of house rules (or simply ignore them) can leave your dog licking their lips and eager for that tidbit of food to drop.
The bad thing is that, with all the food and excitement, your dog can end up putting on a few extra pounds too. And while they might beg and whine for a taste of what you (or one of your guests) are eating, it’s important to be careful of what your dog eats during the holiday season.
Three (3) Effective Ways to Keep Your Dog from Gaining Weight During the Holidays
1. Keep the food rules enforced
Now consider the fact that the holiday season brings friends and family together. Who is allowed to feed them? Be sure that your guests are aware of your dog’s food rules and inform them of the dangers that come with not following the said rules. For example, not everyone is familiar with dogs. They are not aware that there are certain human foods that dogs should never eat. Grapes, chocolate, and onions are a few of them.
There are numerous stories about people treating their neighbor’s dog to a chocolate chip cookie, so the best precaution to take is to simply prohibit anyone else from treating your dog to anything. Be especially careful with young children, since they tend to be easily persuaded by “puppy-dog eyes.”
Most other human food is consumable to a certain degree. The question is: Are they good for your dog? Fried and fatty foods in general should be avoided as treats. Fatty foods are extremely hard on their livers and store very quickly as excess weight. If you must or feel obligated to treat your pup to some holiday specials, fresh vegetables such as carrots or some fruit slices would be a healthy treat to indulge them. Only give your dog something that you have prepared, especially if your dog has allergies.
2. Don’t oversize your dog’s portions and go easy on treats
One of the other issues with the holiday season is that some owners may become a little “generous” with their dog’s food portions. Perhaps they believe that an extra scoop will help keep their dog’s belly satisfied and keep them from wanting to vacuum the carpet under the dining room table. But the truth is that most dogs will always want what you’re eating. It’s best to keep their food portions the same, and rely on a healthy treat as a substitute for an overfilled bowl.
But you should still be careful with your treat delivery. Dog treats are just what their name implies – treats. In excess, they aren’t good for your pup, and are only meant to help train or used as a reward for a special situation. You don’t have to indulge your dogs with treats to help them have a good time.
3. Keep them active
Because the holiday season is a busy one, an unforeseen issue with weight gain is that dogs aren’t getting the exercise they need to keep them fit. Their food portions may have stayed the same, but now they’re not getting the chance to use up what they put in.
So, what are a few ways to keep your dog active during the holidays? You could start by taking them on walks of all types. If you have to go to the mail, take your dog with you. Does your puppy have a playmate you could arrange regular play-dates with? When it comes down to it, it is the responsibility of every pet owner to make sure their dog has the opportunity to get the exercise they need. Take a walk in the evening or even while your turkey is roasting in the oven. Time is there, as long as you’re willing to look for it.
This holiday season brings about much festivity, and your pup is definitely going to want to hang around to catch a few crumbs that fall off the dinner table. As your dog’s owner and protector, you’re responsible for keeping your dog happy and healthy. Dogs don’t have to put on a couple of pounds to prove they had fun during the holiday festivities. As long as you take a few precautions and keep them active, your dog will have fun this holiday season.
Keeping up with your pet supplies can be just another thing you don’t want to have to remember. After a long day at work and going to the store, the last thing you want to do is have to go “to the store” again. Consider home delivery of your pet supplies!