Tessa’s been with us for about a month and her weight loss has really hit a stride (literally and figuratively)! We’ve put her on a regiment that has shown obvious results (she’s already lost 5 pounds!) and that is really easy for us to follow as well. I want to highlight the 5 simple steps my family has been using to keep our newest member looking great and, most importantly, loving life!
1. Feeding Routine:
Before we got Tessa, she was allowed to graze freely from her bowl of kibble. It’s a common misconception that pets will self-regulate when it comes to their feeding. This is not true! Often times, several factors can be responsible for a pet overeating from their bowl, including competition with other household pets and even boredom.
Since we’ve had her, she’s been on a strict, twice a day feeding routine. We divide her daily portion into two equal amounts and give her one serving at 8 in the morning, and another serving at 6 at night. She usually takes a few bites, wanders around, and then comes back to finish up 20 minutes later, but she always finishes her meal.
2. High Quality Food:
Tessa was eating a diet exclusively of Iams kibble before we adopted her. This low quality food not only contains a lot of fillers, but it also contains a lot of artificial preservatives and flavors. She received zero diversity in her diet and no supplements or vitamins. It was like she was eating the same boring bowl of corn flakes for every meal. This changed right away!
The first step we took was changing her diet. We (unfortunately) had to buy a small bag of the Iams food that we began mixing with the much higher quality “I and love and you” Nude Food. “I and love and you” Nude Food is grain-free, has no artificial flavors or preservatives, is high in protein, and features low glycemic carbs like lentils and garbanzo beans… clearly a much better choice than the Iams. She took to the “I and love and you” pretty quickly and she didn’t even finish the other stuff.
Now we have her on a great mix of Only Natural Pet EasyRaw and “I and love and you”. The kibble gives her the texture she’s used to and the EasyRaw gives her quality, raw meat. It’s a perfect mix that she loves eating.
We’re also certain to include wild salmon fish oil, probiotics and a canine daily multi-vitamin.
3. Feed by the Numbers:
We feed Tessa to her desired weight, not the weight she is. When we first brought her home, we scheduled an appointment with our vet and had a serious conversation about what she should weigh given her breed, build and age. From there we determined she should weigh a full 11 lbs less… and began feeding her for that weight.
4. Too Many Treats:
This one has been difficult because she is so cute, but we had to put our foot down. Tessa has a bad habit of expecting treats just for being. Plus, all of the little bites throughout the day (licking the cereal bowl, the chip that fell on the floor, the peanut butter in her Kong) really add up to some serious extra calories.
To combat this, we started on our own personal plan of awareness and moderation. This includes breaking her treats into smaller portions, giving her single ingredient, freeze dried meat treats, and communicating with each other to get a real understanding of what she’s eaten that day.
5. Get Moving:
One of the most important parts of any pet’s weight loss program is exercise. When Tessa first came home, she wasn’t even able to make it up the stairs to the front door. But with a lot of encouragement and continued practiced, Tessa has been making it around the block on a nightly basis… she’s even made it out to Boulder’s Open Space on a couple of trips! This has been one of her biggest adjustments from the sedentary, kenneled life she was living before. But now we can tell how much her activity level is up and she’s even started going to the door when she hears the word, “Walk.”