Tips to Maintain Your Dog's Weight During The Holidays

The holidays can provide you with temptation to feed your furry friend some delicious leftovers.

By | Posted: November 26, 2014, 3 p.m. PST

But with 52.6 percent of dogs in America either carrying a little extra weight or obese, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, you’ll want to pass on passing out the snacks.



What steps can you take to make your holiday celebrations enjoyable for yourself and your dog, while keeping your dog from gaining weight?

"While it can be tempting to share dinner with your dog, it’s not always the best for their health. Many foods common in holiday meals like garlic and onion can even be toxic to dogs,” explains Kerri Marshall, DVM, MBA, Chief Veterinary Officer of Trupanion.

Prevention is Key

Training your dog before the holidays is ideal because Dr. Ari Zabell, director of client advocate support at Banfield Pet Hosptial, advises that taking action during the holidays to prevent a dog from approaching the dining table may not be as effective. The best way to keep a dog from reaching the dining room is through early training.

"Your pet should be trained at an early age that food is either eaten out of their bowl, or handed to them as a treat, but never in response to begging or approaching the dining room table,” says Zabell. "The best approach is proper training to ensure the pet knows that begging for food is not allowed. Beyond training, a new special toy or healthy pet treat can offer a very effective distraction around dinner time.”

Using food alternatives before and during the holiday as Dr. Zabell recommends, can be very effective to calm a dog and reduce stimulation from food and guests. Selecting a special toy, reserved for just before serving food is advised to distract them before and during guest arrival. The toy can also distract the dog if they are tempted by the food. Using veterinary approved sedatives for some dogs can reduce anxiety from guests and the temptation that food may present to dogs.   

However, if the situation arises where it's impossible to completely remove the dog from the environment with food, there are some recommendations for what type of food and how much of it should be given to your dog during the holiday.

"If you plan to share some holiday treats with your dog, stick to healthy fruits and vegetables,” cautions Marshall. "Rather than sharing a slice of apple pie with your pup this holiday season, share a piece of apple. If your favorite dish is green bean casserole, give them a taste of green beans without the toppings.”

Fruits You Can Feed Your Dog>>

Vegetables You Can Feed Your Dog>>

Marshall recommends to keep a leash on feeding by providing your dog with no more than 10 percent of your dog's calories come from snacks comprised of chopped up fruit and vegetable pieces.          

Since every family and dog is unique, as Dr. Zabell says, "It all depends what is available to you.” Whether a guest has an established pet-playmate for your dog or having trustworthy children to play with a dog in a separate room, there are many ways to ensure your dog isn't tempted by your holiday feast and your dog doesn't have food it isn't supposed to.     

More Holiday Tips


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Eileen - 249708   Port Perry, ON

12/2/2014 6:06:23 AM

My dog gets weighed once a week and we do small adjustment to keep her weight stable. It is easier to make small subtle changes then having to put you dog on a diet.

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