It’s no surprise that some of us are feeling a bit ‘fluffier’ in the last two years as ‘pandemic pounds’ have made their mark. Turns out our best friends have gained a few pounds during the pandemic too, and it’s important we make sure they don’t continue to suffer this additional COVID-19 side effect. If your dog has gotten a bit floofy in the last two years, don’t fret; here’s how to help dogs lose weight they gained during the pandemic!
An article on CNN recently highlighted significant concern veterinarians have over what they’ve been noticing in pets since the pandemic began. According to the article, Dr. Ernie Ward said there are more and more reports of weight gains than have been seen in years before. Dr. Ward is a veterinary food therapist and the founder of the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention.
He said that the pandemic was like the perfect storm for weight gain, with more snacking done at home and less walking or other exercise to balance it. For us humans, restrictions on our movement meant more restrictions on our dogs’ and we would be lying if we all weren’t probably a little more indulgent when it came to snacking while the world was spinning out of control. That includes letting our doggos snack some extra treats too.
It’s true. We’ve spent more time with our dogs in the last two years–whether cuddling and watching movies (complete with popcorn, of course) or simply working from home but feeling guilty that we’re home and not endlessly throwing them the frisbee. Our dogs (and we) have gotten sort of used to more snacks and less exercise, and we’re all seeing that in the form of extra pounds.
Dr. Ward says that our dogs follow our mannerisms, and when we’re home more and snacking more and exercising less, so are they. Additionally, when we’re stressed (and who of us hasn’t been in the last two years?), our brains get surges of neurochemicals that propel us to eat. Many of us have been stress-eating, and at home, and those puppy dog eyes we get from our doggos certainly lend themselves well to including our best friends in that stress relief. Separation anxiety for our dogs also leads us to do some ‘guilt parenting’ and treats end up being our payoff of choice for our dogs. Pandemic pounds for pets have turned out to be yet another residual side effect of COVID-19.
Why pet obesity is such a problem
What’s a couple of pounds, you might ask? Well, in simple terms, a couple of extra pounds could take years off your dog’s life! A 2019 study found that dogs who were overweight had an average of up to 2.5 years less lifespan than did their canine peers who were healthy weights.
Additionally, obesity is a significant indicator of future disease in your dog, including conditions like arthritis, diabetes, and even Leaky Gut. These issues can be serious, and seriously impact the quality of life your dog has. These are things that we can help control, though, if we just work on keeping our dogs at healthy weights.
How to help dogs lose weight gained during the pandemic
If your dog’s gained some pandemic pounds, he’s not alone. The good news is that we can do things to help dogs lose weight and help them have healthier, happier lives.The first thing we need to do is look at our routines. Many of us have gotten into some pretty bad habits in the last two years–eating whatever, whenever, and in quantities that we may not normally eat in non-stressful situations. That goes for our dogs, and we can get them into the habit of eating regular meals and snacking less.
Treats are often HUGE culprits of extra calories that our dogs just don’t need. If you want to give them snacks, consider healthy ones like cucumbers or tomatoes or blueberries. Yes, fruits and veggies are great snacks for dogs (stay away from grapes and raisins, though!) and can allow you to have that special ‘treat’ bond without the extra calories.
Next, watch what we feed them. Our hands tend to get heavier when we’re focused on other things (like the world falling apart) so be purposeful in your portion sizes for Fido. Most premium dog foods will have weight management portions and it’s a good idea to follow them so your dog isn’t overeating simply because food is there.
Get out there and exercise, especially now that winter is on its way out. It’s a great time to get them back in the habit of dog parks and runs through the neighborhood, and even if you have a non-exerciser, just a walk around the block every day can give them some good cardio and caloric burning.
Perhaps the easiest way you can help dogs lose pandemic pounds is to add Bernie’s Perfect Poop to every meal.
Why Bernie’s Perfect Poop may help dogs lose weight
Recent research showed that dogs who had high-fiber diets achieved healthier weights and body compositions than did their peers who did not have high-fiber diets.
The study found that high-quality fiber is beneficial to dogs when trying to help them lose weight. It makes total sense, of course, for many reasons.
Fiber’s main job is to keep food moving through his digestive tract at just the right speed so he can absorb all the nutrients he should.
But fiber is also great for helping dogs feel ‘full’ and when your dog feels fuller, he’ll be inclined to eat less. Full tummies filled with high-quality fiber are happy tummies that don’t go begging for more treats or scavenging for food.
Bernie’s Perfect Poop has a premium mix of soluble and insoluble fibers that will keep your dog’s tummy happy for sure. Miscanthus grass, flaxseed and pumpkin work to keep just the right amount of water in his digestive tract (again, helping him feel satiated and not starving). Inulin is a soluble (dissolves in water and is easily broken down) fiber in Perfect Poop that acts as a prebiotic–that means it feeds the beneficial probiotics in his gut.
Essentially, when your dog has high-quality fiber added to every meal, you can be sure that his gut health is getting fed well too.
It’s well-known that good health begins in the gut, and so the fiber in Perfect Poop takes care of his gut health and can help him stay a healthy weight! It’s the perfect addition to every meal to manage better health, vitality and weight and it’s a delicious way for your dog to battle those pandemic pounds without even trying!
The pandemic’s taken its toll on all of us, and our furry best friends haven’t been spared. Still, we can battle the side effects of the pandemic pounds in a very simple way–adding Bernie’s Perfect Poop to every meal!