Getting My Dog Back Into Shape with Natural Balance Pet Foods

Shortly after the New Year, I adopted a 1-1/2 year old Blue Heeler.  My family and I just adopted a hound mix shortly after Christmas, but a friend of mine messaged me about an urgent dog that needed to be rescued. He was an owner surrender at a local shelter and needed to be adopted ASAP. Owner surrenders do not get much time at shelters—they are the first to get euthanized when the shelter is full because no one is looking for them.  Needless to say, I went down to the shelter and adopted him. A couple of weeks later, I discovered he was heartworm positive.

Crash’s diagnosis did not discourage me. Heartworm is a treatable disease, but it is expensive.  It takes three months to complete and is very hard on the dog. He came through it perfectly and it now heartworm-free. Unfortunately, during his treatment he put on five extra pounds. That might not seem like a lot, but for a 33-pound dog, those five extra pounds are about a 15% mass increase.  During the treatment, a dog must have limited activity. Any increase in blood pressure can cause a blood clot as the heartworms are expelled through the bloodstream. Crash was put on crate rest and sedated for three months to limit activity. All that rest time, even though it helped him get rid of the heartworms, made him chubby and out of shape.


Now that he is finished with the treatment, I am working on getting him back into shape. I’ve steadily increased his activity, but my charming little heeler is extremely food motivated. He particularly loves to steal food from his fur-brother and my kids. To get him back into shape, I needed to cut his calories in addition to exercise.  While searching for a “diet” dog food, all the ones I came across were full of fillers. I wanted a quality dog food that was made with quality ingredients.  Just like with people food, the more junk food you ingest, you are not doing any favors for your body. Crash had come a long way and I wanted him to get back into shape without having to sacrifice taste, nutrition or quality.

Many of the pet fosters I work with through an animal rescue I volunteer with recommended Natural Balance® Pet Foods, specifically, Fat Dogs® Low Calorie Dry Dog Formula. It’s designed to keep your pet nutritionally balanced with fewer calories. The dry dog food has a special protein and fiber blend that can help your dog feel full as they lose weight. Perfect.  Since Crash is ALWAYS hungry, more is better.

Looking at the ingredients I was happy to see that they were recognizable and pronounceable. I didn’t see any “fillers” or grains.  The ingredients include: chicken, salmon, garbanzo beans, dried peas, pearled barley, and oatmeal.  And, with all the pet food recalls I’ve seen lately with other big brand dog food, it was comforting to see that Natural Balance is committed to pet safety. They perform safety tests on every batch of food. You can feel confident that your pet is getting the best nutrition without any chance of them ingesting anything harmful. With their Buy With Confidence® promise I feel extremely good about feeding this food to my dogs. I value quality nutrition in my life and see no reason why I shouldn’t value it in my dogs as well. Natural Balance stands out in an industry full of food recalls and issues. Normally, paying more for a product means that it is higher quality but that isn’t a guarantee in today’s world. That is why Natural Balance goes the extra mile to test all of their products for safety. They care about your pet’s health and happiness above anything else!


As far as taste? It seems that Fat Dogs® Low Calorie Dry Dog Formula passes the Crash test. He gobbles it down like it’s his final meal before he’s off to war.  In addition to the dry food, I also use the Dog Food Rolls as treats when we are training. The Dog Food Rolls are made with premium ingredients such as beef, lamb, chicken, duck, pea flour and brown rice flour. They slice up easily into small bites and are perfect for training treats.

Crash is down three pounds and has two more to go. His stamina is increasing everyday and his coat is looking great. I’m glad I was able to save him from a deadly disease and he’s been a wonderful addition to my family. As time goes on,  I hope he has a wonderful, long and healthy life with us—just a few pounds lighter.


If you have any questions about heartworm or how to get your dog back into shape, ask me in the comments for a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card. This is a great way to win extra cash towards the purchase of Natural Balance Pet Foods. Your fur-babies will love you for it!

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This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older (or nineteen (19) years of age or older in Alabama and Nebraska). Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 2 business days to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.

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This sweepstakes runs from 11/9/2016 – 12/31/2016

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93 thoughts on “Getting My Dog Back Into Shape with Natural Balance Pet Foods

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  2. I have a hard time getting my dog back into shape during the winter months because we have so much snow that we cannot do our daily walks.

  3. I’m pretty much a couch potato myself so I’m looking for inspiration for both myself and my pets. Thanks for the information on heartworm. I never knew what caused it.

  4. My furbaby has put on weight and has a problem jumping up on the chair/couch. The vet said to cut back on her food, but she is still having problems. Do you have a suggestion? She runs in the yard and plays with her fence buddy, but, I don’t think she’s losing any weight.

  5. can you. buy heartworm medicine over the counter? That’s something I would really love to know because I can never seem to find any and if so where do you find it at

  6. so scary! I don’t have a dog, just five cats but I pet sit a lot for my friend’s dog. I will have to talk to him about this

  7. Heartworm is really scary. I wonder how the tablets compared to the shot work?

  8. My dog needs to lose 5 pounds, what should I do?

  9. I have an 11 year old chihuahua who is overweight and has been for years despite me trying to watch her diet! She gets out everyday and walks but still never looses weight! I need help!

  10. I do not actually have a dog and have never had to deal with heart worm. I have cats. That said, my stepdad was the veterinarian for the state of WV and also owned his own practice for many years. I practically grew up in that clinic and still remember the plastic anatomy model he had in his dog examination room that showed a cross section of a heart filled with white worms. Horrible!

  11. So glad you’re dog is doing good.

  12. I have a cat and not a dog. I’m happy I don’t have to worry about heartworm.

  13. my daughter keeps her 2 corgis in good shape. she takes them regularly to the vet

  14. Thanks for a great and informative post. We have two dogs that we walk often. Both of them are relatively fit as my husband actually feeds them Natural Balance. Plus, he runs and he takes them with him often.

  15. As a runner my dog gets plenty of exercise and many times helps drag me out the door!

  16. My 2 dogs get a yearly checkup at the vets who they both love. I want to be on top of everything.

  17. thank you for this post! My dog and I love going hiking together to stay in shape

  18. We give our dogs a heartworm pill every month. I think I’ve heard of one you only give once or twice a year. But I haven’t checked into it.

  19. Our dog doesn’t get as much exercise in the winter since it is so cold, but my kids like to run him around in the summer. He is a baby and doesn’t like the cold.

  20. What is a good way to motivate an out of shape dog that isn’t used to getting much exercise?

  21. How do you what is enough exercise for your dog. Is it an amount of time per day?

  22. Are pills the only way to prevent heartworm or are there other options? 🙂

  23. We have never had to deal with this luckily! I have been wondering how it is caught though. Your dog looks so happy and healthy! . Thank you for the chance to win!


  24. Thanks for wonderful tips,I don’t have a dog now, planning to get one soon.

  25. We give our dog heartworm medicine and thankfully she hasn’t gotten heartworm.

  26. How do dogs catch heartworm? I remember my mom always giving our dogs preventive pills for it.

    1. Heartworm is contract by a mosquito bite. The preventative pills kill the larvae before they can develop into heartworm.

  27. That goodness we have not had to deal with heartworm….it’s always a threat…..glad Crash is okay!

  28. How do dogs catch heartworm? Is it hereditary? So sad I know prevention is the key.

  29. Nasy disease we have never had to deal with

  30. Heartworm is so scary. I used to work at a vet and saw some sad things. 🙁


  31. Thanks for your great tips and sharing your story. I don’t have a dog now… but love to have one some day.

    amy [at] uTry [dot] it

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  33. I would love some tips for keeping my dog in shape.
    tcarolinep at gmail dot com

  34. I have cats so my question would be how to get them in shape. It seems much more difficult than with a dog.

  35. We have cats so my question would be how to get them in shape! It’s difficult because if they’re feeling lazy then they aren’t going to play, no matter what we do!

  36. Thank you for all the great info and I’m glad your little guy is getting healthier and back on track.

  37. I’m glad your pup is okay. That’s definitely tough to deal with 🙁

  38. How soon after heartworm treatment can my dog start to go on runs with me?

    1. I’d give it a few weeks and slowly work up your dog’s activity. After being sedentary for 3 months, they will need a slow intro back to activity. Crash is 6 months post heartworm treatment and he’s 100% back to normal activity.

  39. I honestly don’t know much about Heartworms ..the only products I have seen is on TV ads. Your dog looks healthy. Thanks.

    1. It’s a crazy disease. Most dogs can carry the infection for YEARS until they show symptoms. That’s why it so important to keep them on preventatives and get a yearly heartworm test.

  40. glad your doggie is okay! My dog is very active so he gets plenty of exercise to stay fit. He also eats a grain free diet to keep his coat shiny and reduces his itching.

  41. I would like tips for getting a dog in shape, Our pets tend to get overweight.

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  43. Your dog looks happy and healthy, thanks for the chance

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  45. I am glad your dog is okay, and heartworm can be deadly. During the colder months, I do not get out that much with my dog and she and I get heavier because we are not exercising enough. But when it gets warmer out, we take a lot of walks and it helps with our weight. My dog is so good in helping me get healthy.

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