Dog weight loss can be very frustrating to undertake, but for an overweight dog, this is something that has to be done for healthy living.
According to a study done in 2017, about 50% of dogs in the United States were either overweight or obese. This means that about 40 million dogs that are at risk of developing any weight-related conditions such as:
- Debilitating diabetes
- Crippling arthritis
- Kidney problems
- Heart conditions
Most of the dog owners and to be precise 58% said that they made sure that they did what they could to watch their dogs’ weight.
Overweight dogs, generally have a poor quality of life. This is not something that any dog lover would want to see happening to their pooches.
What could all these dog owners be doing wrong? And what could you do for your furry friend?
It may be simpler than you think.
Meeting your dog’s exercise requirements and watching the diet are some of the most important things that you should do as a dog owner to keep your dog’s weight in check.
But in addition to that, there are other tips that you can follow, some of which we are going to look at in this guide.
So, let us get right into it.
Contents and Quick Navigation
- 1. First, determine if your dog is overweight
- 2. Visit your vet on dog weight loss
- 3. Calculate your dog’s calories
- 4. Gradually Increase the rate of exercise
- 5. Reduce the number of carbs for weight loss
- 6. You can use some help in your dog weight loss journey
- 7. Measure and monitor what you feed your dog
- 8. Cut back on treats
- 9. If you have other pets, feed them separately
- 10. Be disciplined with your dog weight loss plan
1. First, determine if your dog is overweight
It is easier for a human to know when they are putting on extra weight such as when one of the favorite clothes starts becoming tighter.
But it may be hard to tell when your dog is gaining weight. This is because they neither wear clothes nor speak.
One way you can determine this is by feeling their ribs that should be palpable but should not be seen. Also, your dog needs to have a definite waistline.
Also, during normal exercise sessions, they should not be winded but they can pant.
If your dog starts having respiratory problems, heavy panting, reluctance to movement or any other general lethargy you should start watching their diet.
Generally, dogs that have the right weight and are healthy should be enthusiastic about movement.
So, if by any chance you suspect or know that your canine friend needs weight loss, what should you do?
Continue reading as we explore these tips.
2. Visit your vet on dog weight loss
Obesity in dogs can pose very health risks to them. These are not just a few extra pounds as some may think.
Your vet is the first person you should consult when looking for dog weight loss advice. They will be more than happy to talk to you about your dog’s weight, health, and what you can do about it.
Your veterinarian will determine your dog’s average weight depending on the breed. He/she will also tell if your dog is overweight or not.
Here is the best place where you can come up with the right strategies for your pooch to lose weight.
You should be able to monitor the weight of your ball of fluff. Check if the efforts you are putting in are making a positive difference. Your vet should also hold you accountable.
They may also examine any of the following health conditions that may be caused by excess weight;
- Respiratory compromise
- Low immunity
- High blood pressure
- Liver disease
- Diabetes or Insulin Resistance
- Heat intolerance
If your pooch has had any changes in his behavior you should be honest with your vet.
Then you should come with a plan on how you are going to be doing regular checkups for your doggo. Make a plan to help you better in sticking to it.
3. Calculate your dog’s calories
Calories are the number of energy that is found in food.
By knowing how many calories your furry friend will need per day will help you better understand how much food your dog needs.
Do not just feed your dog by just following the instructions on the label. You will need to do more than that because of adults and puppies have different feeding guidelines.
What this means is that you may be feeding your dog more or less what he is supposed to have.
Your vet can help you determine how many calories the dog will need but you can also use this calorie calculator.
Controlling the number of calories that you give to your pooch will be effective in keeping the weight in check.
By following the calorie guidelines that are given to you by your vet you should be able to cut your dog’s weight by 3-
5% in the first month.
You should also continue visiting your veterinarian if you are not seeing any progress.
4. Gradually Increase the rate of exercise
Just as we had mentioned earlier, exercise is the best dog weight loss tip.
Feeding your dog on the right number of calories is one way but also increasing physical activities can be helpful.
Increasing physical activities can help burn up the extra calories. Dogs burn calories every time, when they train, move around, and even when they are sleeping.
For most dogs, two 25 minute walks work great. This should be coupled with some games and mental stimulation activities. The brain also uses energy and mentally stimulating activities will work great.
If your pooch has respiratory problems, introducing an extra exercise routine would do no good. The first thing you need to do is to reduce the number of calories. Allow your dog to lose some weight before introducing exercise slowly.
Some dogs like the mini-Bulldog are prone to obesity and respiratory problems due to the shape of their heads, therefore, you should be mindful if you have such a breed. These breeds are known as brachycephalic dogs.
For such dogs, you should only walk them during the cooler parts of the day and not use treat during mental stimulation exercises.
Once your furry friend has cut enough weight and is healthy enough you can consider running with them.
5. Reduce the number of carbs for weight loss
Most dogs do not need a high-carbohydrate diet, yet this is what most of us feed them on.
If you analyze the food label you will realize that most foods are made up of 60% or more carbs.
The diet that you give to your dog should have more protein than carbs. Also, consult your vet before you make any changes to the diet of your canine friend.
This does not mean that your pooch should not be feed on carbohydrates. They are also important as dogs metabolize some of them for energy. The problem is the high amount of carbs found in most commercial foods and which are not important in dog weight loss.
So, what should you feed to your pooch?
Feed your dog on a high protein diet
Before buying kibble or any other food for your dog, you should always check the label. That is what responsible dog owners do.
- Understand what you should give to your dog and why.
- How many calories the diet has.
- What are the main ingredients?
- Is your doggo getting the right nutritional value from the food?
These are some of the things that you should always keep in mind.
Some of the most important nutrients are fats and proteins. Proteins are necessary for the maintenance of the body, cell function, and repair.
Fats, on the other hand, are important energy sources. About 5% of fats and at least 20% of proteins are the recommended amount in each diet.
Dogs thrive best when their diets are more protein. These should be high-quality protein from meat sources to help them build lean muscle.
Therefore, in your dog weight loss plan, you should consider diets that are high on proteins.
However, the protein sold not be from meat by-products.
I would also recommend that other than getting dry food, try canned foods as they contain more water. Water has a low calorific value.
6. You can use some help in your dog weight loss journey
Other dog owners, friends, and family can help you a lot when it comes to your dog’s weight loss.
You should make sure that they are not feeding your pooch behind your back.
This is not to say that they have any bad intentions with your dog as they are usually meaning well. Your colleague may think that that donut he/she is eating is good for the dog. Your kids giving him that extra sandwich is not healthy or neighbors that may be throwing him treats every time he visits.
You should let them know that you are on a dog weight loss plan.
Especially for smaller dog breeds where every extra calorie that is given to the dog matters.
Everyone close to the dog should know the health risks of having an overweight dog.
7. Measure and monitor what you feed your dog
Measuring the amount of food you give to your dog is critical.
Once you have figured out your dog’s calorie intake after a visit to your vet, you should stick to that amount of food.
The guidelines on the packaging are what you should use to know how much your dog should eat in grams.
Measure, do not guess and this is where some dog lovers go wrong. You may fail to read the instructions and measure. Those 12 extra kibbles can add up to several pounds over time.
An electronic measure is your best friend when you are doing this accurately.
You can use a container that fits the right amount of food and use it to make it easier.
8. Cut back on treats
Reward your dog using things like toys other than treats. But if you have to give him treats use high-value or healthy homemade treats.
Most of the treats are laden with high-calorie sugars which can destroy your dog’s health.
Get treats that are high on protein and break them into smaller pieces to avoid overfeeding.
However, it would be better to avoid treats all together if you are on a dog weight loss plan. Non-food rewards are way better.
Top-tip – If you know that your dogs have had too many treats cut on the amount on the food you give to him that day.
9. If you have other pets, feed them separately
Some of the tips that I have given to you may seem too easy but if you have other animals in the house it becomes even harder.
If you feed your dog in the same room as your cat, he may end up finishing up his food and eating the cat’s food.
Feed them separately and if it possible, at different times.
10. Be disciplined with your dog weight loss plan
Putting your dog on a diet is not a crime. It is best for you and your canine friend if he is losing weight.
Don’t fall for those innocent puppy eyes. This is a trick that most dogs employ to get extra tricks.
But if you feel like the food you are giving to your pooch is too little, you should first consult is your vet. Once your veterinarian confirms the right calorie intake you can go ahead and keep on with it.
Your vet can also check your dog’s hormones if you have followed his guidelines but it is not paying off.
There are conditions such as sluggish thyroids that can cause hormonal problems making it more difficult for your dog to shed some weight.
As we have seen dog weight loss is a journey that needs you to be dedicated.
Having a dog that has the right weight is good for the happiness of both you and your dog.
We hope that you found our 10 top tips helpful for your pooch to have a healthy and long life.
Has your dog put on some weight recently? Give us your feedback in the comment section below.
you go WOOF!
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