How to maintain a healthy weight
Congratulations on reaching your dog’s target weight! High fives to both you and your dog on this massive accomplishment.
Through your efforts and perseverance you have:
- significantly reduced the health risks facing your dog,
- lengthened your dog’s life expectancy,
- improved your dog’s vitality and mental well-being
- created a happier and more playful best friend!
You have mastered how to correctly feed and exercise your dog and you have made the lifestyle tweaks necessary to ensure your hard work pays off well into the future!
But your work is not over yet!
Your next step is discover your dog’s maintenance calorie intake and to decide on a maintenance food. Let’s get started….
Determining maintenance calorie intake
Up until this point your dog has been steadily losing weight. Now it is time to halt your dog’s weight loss and maintain your dog’s healthy weight. To do this we need to make some calorie adjustments.
These calorie adjustments will be made gradually until your dog’s healthy weight stabilizes. The level of adjustment will vary between dogs.
To maintain a healthy weight (without further weight loss) most dogs will require somewhere between a 10- 40 % increase in calorie intake on their dieting daily calorie allowance. For particularly active dogs this may increase up to 80%.
NB: These calorie and food portion adjustments are automatically generated during your WAGSTA Weight Plan membership.
To prevent weight fluctuations we recommend continuing membership until your dog settles into their maintenance weight (where their healthy weight has been maintained for at least 4 weeks).
Manual instructions to identify your dog’s maintenance calorie intake:
- On achieving your dog’s healthy target weight, make a 10% increase to your dog’s daily calorie allowance. Continue to make 10% increments in calorie intake fortnightly, until your dog’s weight is no longer falling, and their target weight is maintained.
- To maintain your dog’s healthy weight, you should regularly monitor your dog’s body condition (Body Condition Scoring). Your dog should be maintained at a healthy weight Body Condition Score of 4 to 5 on a 1-9 BCS scale.
- Conduct fortnightly weigh-ins to determine your dog’s exact response to calorie adjustments.
- Remember to include a treat allowance. Sudden relaxation and free feeding of treats will quickly undo all your hard work. All treats must be accounted for. Keep the entire household on board.
Once your dog’s healthy weight has been maintained for more than 4 consecutive weeks, stick to this calorie intake. This is your dog’s maintenance calorie allowance.
Food to Maintain a Healthy Weight
Throughout your dog’s weight loss, your WAGSTA Wellness program has recommended low-calorie, high-protein dog food.
We recommend you continue feeding your current diet food until your dog’s maintenance calorie intake is determined.
Once your dog’s maintenance calorie intake is determined (through your dog maintaining their current body condition and healthy weight for more than 4 weeks), you may consider changing foods.
You may switch back to previous brands of food or alternatively try others. Remember to portion new food according to your dog’s maintenance calorie requirement.
Do not feed according to packet guidelines and do not revert to the amounts you previously fed.
Food intakes must be calculated individually for every type of food. Input your maintenance food into the FOOD PORTION CALCULATOR to identify the correct portion size to feed. Then using a set of kitchen scales, accurately measure your dog’s meals.
Tip 1: If your dog has a big appetite e.g. Labrador and Beagles, it is often best to continue feeding a low calorie, high protein food. As the smaller portion size and lowered protein content of mainstream foods may not satisfy hunger levels.
Tip 2: Once your dog has settled into their maintenance diet, it is best to stick with a food they enjoy and respond well to. (Your dog should have a healthy glossy coat, firm stools and be energetic). If you decide to change foods remember to recalculate your dog’s correct portion size.
Tip 3: Don’t revert to free feeding or feeding by packet guidelines- these are surefire ways for your dog to start gaining weight.
Tip 4: Remember to factor in a treat allowance and avoid feeding more than 10% of your dog’s daily calorie intake as treats.
Tip 5: Everything that passes your dog’s lips must be accounted for! Keep the entire household on board with your new healthy feeding habits.
Tip 6: Regularly monitor your dog’s weight and body condition so you can quickly identify and take control of any weight gain. Aim for a monthly weigh-in and fortnightly body condition score.