Help your dog shed unwanted weight and still give him the nutrition he needs.
Is Your Dog Overweight?
Before you begin a weight loss plan for your dog, follow these steps to be sure he really needs to lose some pounds. Place your hands on the sides of his rib cage and carefully run your palms down to his sternum.
If the ribs are protruding out, your dog is likely too thin.
If you can feel his ribs individually and his abdomen is slightly tucked up when you view him, he's at a good weight.
If you can't easily detect his ribs, he lacks a waist and/or his belly drags, he needs to lose weight. Also, talk to your veterinarian before beginning a weight loss plan to ensure your dog loses weight in a healthy way.
The Cause of Canine Obesity
Like people, several variables contribute to dogs’ increased weight including:
- They eat more calories than they burn (especially if they eat large amounts of people food).
- They don't exercise enough.
- Their metabolism slows (especially true following surgery to spay or neuter).
- They are given too many dog treats.
- It is important to talk to your veterinarian to make sure there are no medical problems contributing as well.
How to Help Your Dog Safely Lose Weight
- First, talk to your vet to develop a plan for safe weight loss.
- Once your vet determines the diet best suited for your dog and how much it should eat, your dog should lose about 1% of his starting weight per week.
- If your dog currently receives one large meal per day, try dividing it into two or three mini meals. These mini-meals will sustain his appetite longer. Instead of treats, give him an extended amount of affection.
- At your vet’s recommendation, increase his exercise routine to burn more energy. Play fetch with a new toy, or go for an extra-long walk after work. However, don't push too hard at first. Just like people, dogs need time to get used to a new exercise routine.
- Get the entire family on board. Explain how treats can contribute to weight gain, and ask for everyone’s cooperation.
Your dog doesn't have to feel famished as he loses weight. Talk to your vet and feed him nutritionally sound food made especially for overweight dogs. Once your dog meets his goal weight, a premium maintenance or weight management food will help him stay there.