New Year, new dog! It’s that time of year for New Year’s resolutions and diets – for both humans and canines - and our training team have put together five useful tips to help your dog shed those extra post-festive pounds. Avoid high calorie and fattening treats Treats can be a dog’s downfall when it comes to losing weight. Some treats may look harmless, but they can be high in carbohydrates and fat - meaning lots of calories! Many dog treats can contain corn, wheat or sugar in the first few ingredients meaning there are high quantities in the treat and do not have much nutritional value. Alternatives treats to give can be chopped vegetables such as carrots and broccoli. Whimzees, which are a high fibre, low calorie chew which is a great alternative to Dentastix, and treats that are made from natural ingredients. Only feed as much as you need to When feeding your dog, it can be easy to fall into the trap of ‘that doesn’t look much in their bowl’. However, in a dog’s food everything they need is packed into the kibbles, so it doesn’t need a bowl full in order to gain enough nutrients. Dogs can only utilise 80% of the food that they eat, so if they are fed more than what they need it will just be wasted and can be turned into excess fat. On the back of each dog food packaging will be a feeding guide according to the dog’s weight or desired weight, which should always be followed. Health checks and weigh-ins Health checking your dog is a brilliant way to keep track of their weight and overall condition. This will allow you to know if you are on the right track with their diet. It is also good to get your dog regularly weighed to ensure they are maintaining a steady, healthy weight. This can be done at your vets or some pet shops have scales in store. Exercise regime If you are trying to help your dog get that ‘New Year, new me body’ then exercise will play a big role in this. Your dog’s age will be a factor to how much exercise they should have, so do keep this in mind. However, generally if you can allow your dog to have a 45-minute run per day this will help them to burn calories and strengthen their muscles. For the less energetic dog, a gentle walk up and down hills will help them to use more energy, burn calories and tone their muscles. Make your own healthy treats A homemade treat can be a healthy alternative to buying treats from the shop as you would know what is in them. Here is a recipe for liver cake, a dieting dog's favourite! Ingredients · 450g lamb or ox liver · 450g self-raising flour · 3 eggs · Milk or water Method · Crack the eggs into a measuring jug. · Add an equal volume of milk or water to the measuring jug and then whisk. · Blend the liver in a food processor. · Add the egg mixture and flour and blend to a sponge mixture consistency. · Empty contents into a greased baking tray and bake at 180°C for 35 – 45 minutes. · Allow to cool, divide into 12 pieces and freeze.