Pets

Puppy Love! How to Help Your Dog Lose Weight

by Rose Marie Walano 1:53 PM, October 3, 2017

Aired December 27, 2017

Yep, humans aren't the only ones who need to be kept on track!

Just ask Travis Brorsen, the host of Animal Planet's new show "My Big Fat Pet Makeover," who visited the studio with a prime example: Gracie, a chihuahua who used to weigh a WHOPPING 42 pounds!

(FYI: Usual weight of a chihuahua? Eight pounds!)

Thankfully, the animal expert and Gracie's owner, Lisa, have helped Gracie lose 13 pounds. (Woot!) But it was no easy task — and it will continue to take diligence.

And we know Gracie isn't the only pup who could use Travis' knowledge!

Luckily, he was more than happy to share his top tips for keeping your best furry friend in shape — starting with how to determine your dog's body condition score. (It's easier than you think!)

1. Learn Your Dog's Body Condition Score
Like BMI — but for dogs! Take a look at the chart in the video, and you'll be able to determine where your dog stands. (Note: If you run your hands over the sides of your dog, you should be able to feel his rib cage — but you shouldn't be able to see it.)

2. Get That Pup Moving!
Yes, dogs need exercise just as much as we do — and pee breaks don't cut it! Your dog is only exercising when he's moving non-stop, so get him hiking, jogging, going up and down stairs or playing frisbee. (Travis recommends using the FitBark app to help you keep track of your dog's activity.)

3. Measure Out Pup's Food
When you're feeding your dog, be specific! Get out that measuring cup and make sure he's only getting the exact amount he should be getting. (And FYI: If you're using your dog's weight to determine how much you should be feeding him, don't! Use your goal weight for him. That will help him lose the pounds.)

4. Did You Feed Your Dog Today?
Part of the problem might be that you simply can't remember — when you fed the dog, who fed the dog, if you and everyone in the house fed the dog? To keep track, check off a chart — or you can use the nifty little manual tracker Travis uses in the clip.

5. Contain the Situation
And if it all gets too much, it couldn't get any easier than this: measure you dog's food for the day — treats and all — and put it in a container. Give him all the food and nothing more — once it's done, it's done!

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