When I decided to help my Cocker Spaniel lose weight, I knew I’d have to get savvy but serious about his diet. Dexter eats a high-quality diet now, but Cockers are notorious foodies, so I had a bit of a dilemma on my hands. Ask 10 pet parents what the best dog food is and you’ll likely get 10 answers.
I incorporated Dr. Harvey’s Healthy Weight dog food along with dance as a form of exercise to help my Cocker Spaniel lose weight. Dr. Harvey’s is fresh food that you prepare each meal, so I felt good feeding Dexter food to boost his metabolism while shedding a few extra pounds. Incorporating physical activity in the form of dance helped my dog lose weight while having fun and being mentally stimulated.
Since my Cocker Spaniel is at a senior age, I know it can be harder to lose weight. Instead of completely eliminating the healthy Dr. Harvey’s diet he already consumed for years, I decided to change one of his two meals each day. Thanks to indoor aerobic activity, short walks every day, and including a healthy weight dog food in his plan, my dog is a few pounds lighter and has more energy. Here’s how my Cocker Spaniel lost weight and how you can apply our tips to your dog’s weight loss journey.
How Dog Food Helped My Cocker Spaniel Lose Weight
For many pet parents, it was bound to happen: The pandemic hit, our dogs are stuck indoors with us, and the pounds start packing on. For Cocker Spaniel moms and dads, you know that Cockers are true foodies more than most breeds. Cockers tend to act like they are starving all the time and will stare you down for whatever morsel of food you happen to be consuming.
After about a month into lockdown, Dexter had a vet appointment and I decided to weigh him ahead of time. I wasn’t the happiest camper after seeing he put on three pounds. For a Cocker Spaniel, that’s a lot of unnecessary weight. I decided together we would start shedding pounds as a family.
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My Cocker Spaniel eats a really good, whole food, nutritious diet from Dr. Harvey’s. One meal consists of organic ground beef and Dr. Harvey’s Veg-to-Bowl formula for lunch and his dinner meal is Dr. Harvey’s Canine Health Formula mixed with organic ground beef. I don’t feed raw; instead, I cook Dexter’s organic ground beef on the stovetop and refrigerate enough for three days.
Too much of a good thing is never a good thing, and there’s something to be said about portion control and too many treats. I was feeding Dexter the best dog food and treats but perhaps giving him too much. I talked to my friends at Dr. Harvey’s, and they let me know a new formula was about to launch.
The first thing I did to help my Cocker Spaniel lose weight is get a vet checkup to be sure he got the “green light” and “all clear” for some more exercise and dietary change. With perfect bloodwork values (of which a big part is Dr. Harvey’s food and supplements), I developed a plan. We would change his dinner time meal to Dr. Harvey’s Healthy Weight beef formula and feed Dr. Harvey’s Veg-to-Bowl with cooked organic ground beef for dinner.
We implemented the dietary change right away, as Healthy Weight uses real beef as the first ingredient, promotes gut and immune health, and is made of real whole superfoods. I won’t give my dog artificial dyes or preservatives, which are unnecessary and frankly, unhealthy for a dog’s diet overall. Since we already fed Dr. Harvey’s food and we rotate the variations, there was no need to transition him slowly to the new food.
If, however, you are not feeding your dog Dr. Harvey’s food and wish to transition, you can move to a new food like Healthy Weight following this simple chart. Your dog’s digestive system can then better acclimate to their new healthy diet made of whole food.
For a solid month, we followed this plan and I tracked the food and treats I gave my dog along with anything my spouse fed him. Together, we decided as a family Dexter would shed pounds and stay healthier longer. In addition to the dietary change, we rotated the type of physical activity our almost 12-years-young Cocker Spaniel would do. I’ll talk more about that shortly.
In one month’s time, actually about 33 days, my Cocker Spaniel lost weight to the tune of two whole pounds. You’d be surprised to learn how much you feed your dog – and how rapidly treats can add up when you write it down. The main things I did to help my Cocker Spaniel shed extra pounds include:
- Changed one meal to Dr. Harvey’s Healthy Weight beef formula dog food
- Portion control: Any treats my Cocker Spaniel eats come from his daily treat bag that I keep in his “treat closet.” Once the bag is empty, the treats are done for the day.
- Moving around more and including dance fun at home three to four times a week.
- Making sure my entire family (and any friends) knew Dexter was watching his waistline.
- Breaking up portioned treats into smaller pieces. If you ever put two treats in your pocket and gave your dog one, you know dogs can “count,” right?
How Dance Helped My Cocker Spaniel Lose Weight
My Cocker Spaniel needed something to do indoors as much as I did, especially during the pandemic. Cabin fever can set in and so can extra pounds. To keep him physically active and mentally stimulated, in 2019 we decided started dog dancing together from the comfort of home.
I don’t plan to compete with Dexter, although I’ve been told he “has what it takes.” Brag alert: He’s passed his Canine Good Citizen testing and holds both AKC Beginner and AKC Intermediate Trick Dog Titles. I don’t plan to wear flashy outfits or compete for judges. I love to dance, wanted to take off some weight, and do the same for my dog.
Three to four times a week from the comfort of our own home, Dexter and I gained synchronicity, strengthened our bond, and he started looking forward to the sessions like a pro. Using tricks and things he learned during trick dog training and throughout his life with me, we set the movements to music. There is no right or wrong way to have fun with your dog unless you cross the line and your dog just isn’t into it. Never force your dog to “dance” or engage in an activity which he has zero interest in doing. If Dexter didn’t show enthusiasm for indoor doggy dancing, I would quit and move onto something else.
For dog moms and dads who aren’t into dancing or want to do other indoor activities with their dogs, I’ve compiled a list of 101 Indoor Activities for Dogs you can read.
I made a playlist of my favorite songs on my iPod and synced it with our Amazon Alexa device. If you want to teach your dog to dance, it’s simply a series of tricks and commands your dog knows that is then pieced together to music. If your dog doesn’t know any tricks or you want to engage in dance but not learn anything new, you can even walk around your apartment or home to music and have your dog follow along. The goal is fun and cardiovascular support while either losing or maintaining weight.
We start with a “warmup” song and end with a “cool down song.” Be sure to take plenty of water breaks in between and never get angry at your dog for not performing. Stop if you are frustrated or the dog simply is over it. Use a happy tone and encourage your dog. Here are the most common tricks/commands my Cocker Spaniel does when we dance together:
- Shake Hands/High Five
- Which Hand
- Go to your spot
- Over (roll over)
- Figure eight
- Slow down
If your dog is deaf, you can still engage in dance and dance movements. Use hand signals instead. If your dog is blind, you can do the same, just use treats as a guide and go slow, making sure your dog is never in danger of running into furniture or other household objects. If your dog is older or has mobility issues, take it slow and go at your dog’s pace. Even light walking from room to room set to music makes for a fun way to get moving for people and dogs of all ages.
Frequently Asked Questions About Healthy Weight Dog Food
Now that I’ve explained how my Cocker Spaniel lost weight and how he’s keeping it off, you might have some questions about Dr. Harvey’s Healthy Weight dog food:
What ingredients are in Dr. Harvey’s Healthy Weight dog food?
Chicken recipe: Chicken, Egg, Carrots, Sweet Potato, Oats, Broccoli, Green Beans, Pumpkin, Flaxseed, Cabbage, Chia Seeds, Celery, Kelp, Barley, Tricalcium Phosphate, Apple, Blueberries, Turmeric, Ginger, Green Lipped Mussel, Cinnamon, Dandelion, Fennel, Inulin, Eggshell, Oyster, Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Taurine, Vitamin E Supplement, Copper Proteinate, Nicotinic Acid, Manganese Proteinate, L-Carnitine, Vitamin A Acetate, Selenium Yeast, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Bacillus licheniformis, Bacillus subtilis, Quercetin, Bromelain, Papain
Beef recipe: Beef, Egg, Carrots, Sweet Potato, Oats, Broccoli, Green Beans, Pumpkin, Flaxseed, Cabbage, Chia Seeds, Celery, Kelp, Barley, Tricalcium Phosphate, Apple, Blueberries, Turmeric, Ginger, Green Lipped Mussel, Cinnamon, Dandelion, Fennel, Inulin, Eggshell, Oyster, Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Taurine, Vitamin E Supplement, Copper Proteinate, Nicotinic Acid, Manganese Proteinate, L-Carnitine, Vitamin A Acetate, Selenium Yeast, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Bacillus licheniformis, Bacillus subtilis, Quercetin, Bromelain, Papain
Is the serving I give my dog enough food?
A prepared serving may seem like less food but it is nutrient-dense and formulated to meet daily canine requirements. See serving suggestions on the Dr. Harvey’s Healthy Weight link here.
How do you make Dr. Harvey’s Healthy Weight dog food?
Measure the correct amount of food for your dog, add hot water, stir, wait 12 minutes, serve.
Can I make it ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator?
For best results, make it daily. Rehydrated food can be stored in the fridge for up to three days if you make it ahead of time. Add hot water and stir after removing from the fridge to bring to the desired consistency. I personally prefer making it fresh daily.
Is it time consuming to make?
No, you add water water and stir. The longest part is your dog waiting to eat the yummy, healthy meal.
What if my dog is a picky eater and won’t touch this stuff?
Most dogs love the taste of real food like Dr. Harvey’s. If your dog isn’t digging it right away, you can rehydrate the food with low-sodium chicken broth or beef stock broth instead of water to entice him.
What formulas is it available in?
Beef or chicken.
Where are the beef and chicken sourced from?
All of Dr. Harvey’s meat is USDA antibiotic-free sourced in the United States. According to Wendy Shankin-Cohen, President and CEO of Dr. Harvey’s, their meats come from Wisconsin where they are sourced and freeze dried. The chicken is free-range also U.S. only sourced.
How does Dr. Harvey’s Healthy Weight differ from Dr. Harvey’s Oracle?
The difference between Oracle Grain-Free and Healthy Weight is Oracle is grain-free, unlike Healthy Weight. Healthy Weight contains organic barley and organic rolled oats for an excellent source of fiber and digestion as well as low-glycemic fruits and vegetables. Healthy Weight has turmeric and cinnamon used for antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. They also have added in Inulin (prebiotic) and Bacillus subtilis which is great for gut health and to improve digestibility.
Can I feed my dog Healthy Weight dog food after he loses weight?
Yes, the food can be used as a maintenance diet and the feeding guidelines contained in every bag explain how to transition to a maintenance diet when a dog has achieved his or her optimal weight.
Can the Dr. Harvey’s Healthy Weight be fed to puppies?
Specifically, the Dr. Harvey’s Healthy Weight formulated is designed for adult dogs and senior dogs, not puppies. Other Dr. Harvey’s formulas can be fed to puppies as indicated.
Can I try a sample first?
You can order a free trial size and simply pay to cover the cost of shipping. Click here and scroll to the bottom.
More Resources To Help Your Dog Lose Weight
Whether you have a Cocker Spaniel or any breed of dog, including mutts, there are a variety of Dr. Harvey’s diets that can help in your dog’s weight loss, weight maintenance, and various health needs. Here are some articles we wrote to help your dog on his or her weight loss journey to good health and longevity:
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