Do you have a paunchy pooch? It seems the obesity epidemic has spread from humans to our dogs. It is estimated that 45% of American dogs are overweight (that’s over 35 million) and it’s not just puppy fat. Obesity tops the list of nutrition related health problems in canines. It is as unhealthy for dogs to be overweight as it is for humans.
How Being Obese Could Harm Your Dog
Obesity isn’t just an aesthetic issue. Being overweight can be life-threatening and significantly shorten your dog’s lifespan. Dogs that are too fat usually die two years sooner than they would if they remained fit. That’s two more years you could spend with your best friend if you help him maintain a healthy weight.
Not only that, obesity lowers your dog’s quality of life. Dogs that are obese have a much higher risk of developing dangerous medical conditions such as:
- High blood pressure
- Lung disorders
- Cancerous tumors
- Immune dysfunctions
How to tell if Your Dog is Obese
Veterinarians report that 50% of the dogs they see are overweight but only 17% of owners realize it.
When you look at your dog do you see a waistline? If you run your hands down her side can you easily feel the ribs? You should be able to do both those things if your dog is fit.
Find out how much your dog weighs by putting him on the scales at home or at the vet’s. How does that compare to standard weight charts for his breed? The smaller the dog, the less excess weight it takes to make your dog obese. For example, a 12-pound Yorkie is comparable to a woman weighting 214 pounds.
What to do if Your Dog is Overweight
A consultation with your vet should always be the first step in creating a weight loss plan for your dog. The veterinarian can rule out any medical causes for weight gain and help you determine how many calories your dog should consume a day.
Dogs that need to lose weight do best on a quality dog food that is higher in protein than average and lower in fat than average. That combination helps protect your dog from muscle loss when losing pounds. Feed your dog the amount recommended for his ideal weight, not his current weight and split that into small meals throughout the day. Be sure you use a real measuring cup (not a coffee cup or scoop) to serve a precise amount.
Exercise is Important
Couch potato canines are more likely to be overweight than active dogs. Encourage your dog to walk or play vigorously at least 30 minutes a day. This will stimulate his metabolism and burn calories. Exercise may also help suppress his appetite.
The bonus is that to get your dog exercising you will need to participate by walking him or playing an energetic game of fetch or another activity. You’ll both reap the healthy benefits.
The Secret to Weight Loss in Dogs
Actually, it’s not a secret. It’s the same formula humans use to lose weight: eat less calories than you burn. That means sticking to the daily calorie budget and adhering to an exercise schedule. Commercial treats are a no-no for your dieting doggie but you can prepare him a smoothie treat that will help boost metabolism and energy levels so dieting comes easier. Just use a powerful blender to emulsify the ingredients. This is a low calorie, high protein smoothie so it should fit right into your dog’s diet plan.
Metabolism-Boosting Smoothie to Help Your Dog Lose Weight
1 cup cooked, unseasoned boiled or baked chicken breast, no skin
1 apple, cored, no seeds
½ cup cantaloupe, chopped
4 or 5 broccoli florets
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. ginger
Enough water to create desired thickness
Put all ingredients in your Omniblend or other high-speed blender. Puree until smooth. May be frozen in ice cube trays for individual servings or you may add a spoonful or two to your dog’s food.
(C) 2014 OmniBlender.COM LLC
Popular wisdom tells us that it takes twenty-one days to change a habit. Others say that changing bad habits takes constant vigilance and work until the new healthier habits becomes the norm, and that the actual time this takes may vary from one person to the next. Whatever the case, making lasting change to behavior that has been ingrained for a long time is not an easy thing to do. However, dedication and motivation to change can start with something as simple as a high performance blender.
Hypnosis is one tool used by therapists in an effort to help their patients become aware of the poor nutritional habits that result in weight gain. While there are physical illnesses and genetic contributions to obesity, hypnosis for weight loss deals strictly with weight gain in individuals that will benefit from behavioral changes.
The first step in hypnosis is to have a trained therapist induce a deep relaxation that is similar to the state experienced just before sleep. In some hypnosis sessions, the therapist may relay a positive, empowering story that uses symbols and metaphors similar to what the subconscious mind might create in a dream state.
The story may include asking the subject to imagine what it will be like to achieve ideal weight, how he or she will feel, and what level of mental and physical energy will be available to the person when the goal is reached. Then there will be suggestions about feeling confident and happy when taking care of nutritional needs.
While some of the messages in hypnotic trance state are directed at the future, others are reserved for the here and now so that the subject can learn to get beyond any psychological blocks or triggers that are impeding weight control efforts. Often the therapist may have to refer her clients with weight loss goals to a nutritionist. Change often starts with education and learning what is healthy and what foods to avoid.
Although obesity rates have increased in the U.S. and the U.K. and we are constantly bombarded with messages about proper diet, there are all those other competing messages from restaurants and grocery stores enticing us to buy more. Awareness is the first step of self-control, but not everyone is aware all the time of what they are putting into their bodies.
A tool often used along with hypnosis is the food diary. Clients are asked to write down everything they eat for a proscribed period of time. This is a most amazing way to bring about awareness of habits, because the diary is essentially a record of choices. It’s even possible to assess the calories and nutrient values after the fact to get a sense of the daily levels so that it can be compared to the daily requirement.
Both hypnosis and keeping a food diary are routinely used in behavior modification programs. After learning what change is needed in order to reach a goal, a motivated person will start altering behaviors and habits. Soon the person trying to lose weight will consciously choose raw vegetables and fruits over fast food and saturated fat. A smoothie blender can quickly be put to use to increase essential vitamins and minerals in the diet
As eating behavior becomes a choice instead of a habit, the high performance blender can be utilized more fully. Conscious food selection will lead to choosing recipes that will fit into the weight loss plan. Soups, dips and sauces can be made with a blender and recipes to assist weight loss are plentiful. Fruit smoothies and raw vegetable smoothies are a convenient way to supplement your diet with healthy snacks.
As a person takes positive steps toward reaching a goal and begins to see results, a therapist may recommend that the hypnosis sessions be continued. The affirmations and empowerment one experiences in trance state can be carried into everyday routine, having a constructive affect on mood and confidence. Change for the better has occurred and habits have been altered. The man who couldn’t go a day without a cheeseburger now enjoys an avocado smoothie and weighs considerably less.
(C) 2013 OMNIBLENDER.COM LLC