A Barkin' Bikini Body

Summer is in full swing, and for many of us, that means barbeques, beach parties and bathing suits. For my family, it meant Tropical Storm Debby. She lingered in the Gulf of Mexico for days, keeping the dogs inside with little exercise. Yikes. When we finally did get out for an evening walk, Abe and Chico literally wanted to jump in the waves slamming over the sea wall. Those are my boys. Fearless, until they see a bug.

This season also brings with it a burning thermometer. While we can maintain our bodies by frequenting our favorite air-conditioned gym, it’s not so easy for our pets. Rocketing temperatures and heavy humidity tend to slow-our-pets-down. Decreased activity coupled with steady or increased food consumption can make it easy for pets to pack on the pounds over the next few months. Keeping your pet’s figure streamlined vs. blimp-like is easier than you might think.

The key to a trim waist this summer is—drum roll please—your dog’s diet. You knew it was coming. When activity levels have to decrease, try switching your favorite canine to a lower calorie food or at least mixing it 50/50 with his current food. My guys will move to The Honest Kitchen’s Zeal formula for the rest of the summer. It has a moderate amount of calories and only 8.5% fat per serving! Inquiring minds (Abe and Chico) want to know if this means they can have two servings in one sitting. Ummm, no. But they can have a carrot!

Speaking of treats, monitoring how much, how often, and who is indulging your pets will go a long way toward weight management. You can certainly try carrots as a snack with your dog, or switch to a low calorie option such as treats made by Fruitables. They contain less than nine kcals per biscuit. If your dog prefers a meaty flavor, try Darford’s Grain Free Turkey treats with only 14 kcals per serving.

Of course, exercise is extremely important to maintain a healthy weight. During this time of the year, walks should be done in the early morning or later in the evening. Even though temperatures are cooler then, water is always a must have.

Tip: A fun way for Fido to burn more calories on a shorter walk is to have him carry his gear (water bottle, waste bags, etc.) in a doggy backpack. Yep. Right on his back.

Have fun in the sun, keep an eye on your pet’s weight, call your veterinarian with questions, and most importantly treat smart! Until next time, enjoy your pets!

Bark Back! What’s your four-legged friend’s favorite low-calorie food or treat?