Some of us have to face the fact that we have dogs(best friends and our babies) that have a slow metabolism or are just plain "Chow Hounds". Our Chewy is a Chow Hound and gains weight easily. We have to feed him less than the recommended feedings of his dog food because he puts on weight so easily. Once your vet tells you that your dog is in overall good health and you discuss a recommended feeding amount and feeding schedule, you can try a few of these ideas:
1. Don't feed table scraps or share "your" food...or at least reduce the amount if you find you can't help yourself but to share. (That's my problem...I know, I know, we should never feed table scraps but I'm a sucker for those beautiful eyes. I just have to share my healthy treats with Chewy and Trixie)
2. Try raw vegtables as treats. Carrots especially. Dogs love the crunch of things like cauliflower, broccoli, green beans, celery. Things like onions and raw potatoes are not good for dogs so discuss healthy snacks with your vet.
3. Plan a daily exercise routine. Ball tossing, taking walks, agility are all things that dogs seem to love...or at least learn to love. Start slow and build stamina. Chewy's absolute favorite thing to do is chase and return the ball. He started off not having any interest in the game at all but developed the interest when I gave him "treats" for the returns. Now, he's obsessed with the ball and no treats are involved. Many of his friends (dogs that board with us who had no interest prior to staying at our place) have also developed the obsession...no treats were ever involved. They just saw Chewy having fun and it became a game to see who could get to the ball the fastest and return it for some love and attention. We go out periodically through the day and play every day.
4. If the weather keeps you inside, you can still toss a ball or toy up the stairs or down the hall or set up barricades in your hall or basement for them to jump over.
5. There is a sport called "Freestyle Dancing" that is dancing with your dog. You can teach your dog to weave through your legs, twirl, jump through your arms and even choreograph a routine. We haven't tried this one yet but it sure sounds and looks like fun! Go to http://www.dancingdogs.net/ and check it out and watch a dance routine.
6. Agility. There are local classes that you can attend (I'll post the information on a blog) to teach your dog agility but you can also set up your own obstacles and learn on your own at home. I purchased an agility set from PetEdge.com for Chewy and I and we have had fun with it. We even treat our interested friends to it (dogs that board with us). The agility kits have weave poles, an open tunnel, pause box and jumps.
Hope this gives you some ideas to help your best friends (or babies) and you have some good, quality and healthy time together. Don't forget the hugs and kisses. They are calorie free and what your dog loves the most...attention from you!!