Healthy Weight Challenge–Week 6 results–don’t let exercise sabotage your dog’s diet!

Dog running

Dog running

Don’t fall victim to the Reward Rule

Healthy Weight Challenge–Week 6 results are in–don’t let exercise sabotage your dog’s diet!
Guest Blog Post by Dr. Donna Spector

In week 4, Fritz experienced a small weight gain. With a minor adjustment in his food and calorie intake, he is right back on track with a ½ pound weight loss and he weighed in at 46.1 pounds this week.

The last 2 weeks brought an interesting question from Fritz’s owner. The family took a vacation and Fritz was to stay at overnight camp. While Fritz is a camper, apparently he spends his days running around like a madman with the other dogs in residence! Fritz’s owner was sure he would burn extra calories and be extra hungry during his camp experience. She inquired if we should increase his calories to compensate for this extra activity.

While this seems fairly logical, unfortunately it is thinking that often leads to continued weight gain–despite a diet and exercise program. This diet disaster phenomenon in both canine and human weight loss is called the “Reward Rule”. People unknowingly sabotage weight loss by giving extra calories when they feel they or their pet have earned a reward. For example, if Fido had an extra long walk or played vigorously in the park with another dog, an extra food reward is often given. People generally over-estimate the number of calories burned during exercise and tend to under-estimate the calorie punch of a treat.

Weekly Weight Loss Tip: If your dog is on a diet and is exercising but failing to lose weight–check yourself–are you practicing the “Reward Rule”? Don’t let exercise undo your weight loss progress! If your pet had a particularly vigorous exercise session (or stays at dog overnight camp!) just be happy that it may add to the weight loss efforts. Don’t get into the vicious cycle of extra treats for harder workout sessions!

Fritz is the first participant enrolled in the Halo Healthy Weight Challenge on THE EXPERT VET of the RADIO PET LADY NETWORK. Fritz is eating Halo’s Healthy Weight Turkey & Duck Recipe and canned Spot’s Stew Wholesome Chicken as his main diet.

photo credit: tymesynk via photopin cc

Halo is a sponsor on Radio Pet Lady Network, by our invitation.