As pet owners we want to do anything and everything to make sure our pets live a long and happy life, and health is the number one factor in making sure that this happens. Everyone likes a little fluff when cuddling with your furry friend but how much fluff is too much? If you find yourself worrying about health risks, here are some tips to help your dog lose weight the safe way.

Step 1: Limit calories and fat

Good news, changing your dog’s diet isn’t as hard as changing yours. Controlling calories and fat in their food is key to maintaining a healthy weight. When looking for a new diet look for digestible protein to prevent lean muscle loss, lower calories from fat, and high fiber to help with weight loss. It’s a good idea to check with your veterinarian to make sure the one you pick is the right fit. Make sure to ease in the new diet and to feed your dog two to four small, measured portions a day.

Step 2: Look for additives

While looking for a new puppy diet, try finding some with added benefits. Added L-carnitine helps with their metabolism and building lean muscle mass so they can lose weight the right way. Keep your puppy active by keeping their joints healthy with added glucosamine and chondroitin. Once you find a diet that meets all of your dogs needs they will have the energy to get up and go outside to play.

Step 3: Healthier rewards

T-R-E-A-T is most likely what makes those ears perk up and tail wag, and you may be guilty of treating them every time they give you those cute puppy eyes. No worries, you can keep treating your prince or princess, but there are healthier options. Affection is by far the best reward but if you still want to spoil them make sure the treats contain the right nutrients. Your pup will still be excited for smaller-sized treats that are low in calories and fat, such as mini-treats or 100% meat treats. Rewards are about the interaction, making them feel good so a change in treats won’t make them any less excited. Make sure to ask your dog to do something such as a trick before giving them a treat so they are rewarded for staying active.

Step 4: More play dates

While diet is the basis of losing weight and staying healthy, it can’t do all of the work. Keeping your puppy active is the best way to keep them having fun while losing weight. If you have a smaller friend try finding some squeaky toys that they like to run around the house with. If your dog is bigger, find toys that they love running back to you and playing tug-of-war with. Toys with treats inside of them are great ways to keep your little one hustling for their health. Stuff the toys with healthy treats or even apples and carrots.

Step 5: Get healthy together

Your dog isn’t the only one who needs play time. Activity decreases calories and increasing muscle. If you find yourself wanting to stay healthy too, develop workouts that you both enjoy so you can motivate each other. Hiking, swimming, jogging, or walking are some activities you can do together. It’s important to always have fun while trying to lose weight and what better way to have fun than bonding with your best friend? 30 minutes of activity a day will give you and your dog something to look forward to.