How Pumpkin Can Help Your Portly Pup Lose Some Extra Weight
If your dog is more of a couch potato than a first class sprinter, pumpkin might be a way to help her trim some of the excess weight she is carrying. Not just for Thanksgiving any more, pumpkin can actually be used as a meal replacement for portly pups. In a recent article for the McClatchy-Tribune, leading pet expert Marc Morrone helped one reader with her over-eating 9-year-old pit bull mix who was roughly 20lbs overweight. That much weight can cause some serious problems for a dogs' health and their frame. Here's some tips that Marc suggests for helping your dog lose weight with pumpkin:
- Always check with your vet to find out the overall health of your dog before you change anything about their diet. Being overweight for a canine or feline can cause some of the same problems we humans face, such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Your vet will be able to check for these issues and let you know if you can make changes to your pet's diet to help her get back on track with her weight.
- When you get the 'all clear' from your vet, you can try your pet on new food for weight loss. Marc says in his article that you can try weight-control food if your dog is willing to eat it but adds that it may not work because "most processed weight-control formula dog foods are really not palatable enough to attract the attention of dogs". I would start with a small amount in case it is rejected.
- If weight-control food doesn't work, you can begin to cut back on the volume of food that you are feeding during the day. To avoid aggression from a sudden drop in food intake, Marc suggests using canned pumpkin, not pumpkin pie mix, and "replace the missing amount with the canned pumpkin. She will lose weight and not feel deprived at all."
- If your dog is acceptable to weight-control food, pumpkin can be given for a healthy snack to help with the transition to a less caloric diet. Marc explains that "For some odd reason, carnivores love the taste and texture of pumpkin." It is high in fiber which helps to satiate the dog's hunger and it is high in Vitamin A and a good source of Vitamin C. It is also a fat-free food, so dogs sensitive to fatty foods can tolerate it.
We began feeding our dogs pumpkin several years ago for digestive issues, mainly diarrhea and constipation, conditions with which this amazing gourd can help. Our vet also suggested it for male dogs who experience frequent anal gland problems to use as a stool softener. Now, we bake cooked, pureed pumpkin right into some of our All-Natural Ali's Pet Kitchen dog treats. You can check them out here: Ali's Pet Kitchen.
Do you have some tips to help dogs get back to their fighting weight? Let us know! We are always looking for new ideas!