Is your dog getting fatter than normal?
Excessive weight in dogs – or simply obesity – is defined by having an excess body fat. It’s not cute at all. Matter of fact, obesity is a nutritional disease. And it’s your job as the pet-parent to be knowledgeable enough on how to help your dog lose weight.
So in this article, we will discuss ways of guiding a dog on his road to a normal weight. You will basically focus on two primary things – more exercise and proper food diet.
Play and Exercise More With Your Dog
The art of learning how to help your dog lose weight is quite similar to that of a human. That said, one of the most effective ways to help your canine friend escape obesity is to promote a more active lifestyle. The best part is it’s completely free!
1. Doing more dog activities
Before you go out and play random activities with your furball, know that a dog’s genetics has got a lot to do with their behavior. That means certain breeds tend to show behaviors that are more predominant than others.
You can take this into your advantage by choosing a play routine or a toy as your means of promoting weight loss. You just have to make your dog perform something that he most likely wants to do. Here are some suggestions.
2. Dog activities according to breed
Sense of Duty
Ideal Toys, Activity, Games
Fetch, Chase, Puzzle Toys
Swimming, Fetch, Hiking, Walking
Tricks and games, Squeaky Toys, Walking the neighborhood
Obedience, puzzles, digging, tug
Agility, Herding, Flying Disc, Fetch
3. Importance of doing more activities
There could only be one result in increasing your dog’s activities – burned calories. Every calorie burned helps your dog lose weight and simultaneously promotes muscle development.
4. Exercise more
According to PetMD, exercise is vital for the success of your dog’s overweight treatment. It’s advisable to go leash walking for at least 15 minutes, two times a day.
5. Tips in playing more with your dog
- Occasionally introduce more games and toys from time to time. This effectively takes the boredom away. Additionally, new toys can enhance coordination and deepen the bond between your dog and you as his human family.
- It’d be better if you live in a place where dog daycares and dog parks are available. It’d be great for your dog to enjoy off-leash time and learn to socialize with neighborhood dogs. Plus points if there are facilities in your area that focuses on dogs’ wellbeing such as search-and-rescue, tracking, and more.
- Do NOT force your dog to engage in your new and increased activities, especially for the first time. Overweight dogs need time to adjust and to develop a better stamina for exercise.
Proper Diet by Regulating Fat and Calorie Intake
1. Meet nutritional requirements but minimize calories
Gradual weight loss is ensured when you meet your dog’s nutrient needs while minimizing calories as possible. Healthy dogs are those who consume:
- Lower calories from fat
- Higher than average amounts of digestible protein
- Higher amounts of L-carnitine
- Added chondroitin and glucosamine
- Higher amounts of fiber
2. Feed smaller but more frequent meals
Do NOT feed your dog with a lot of food in a single meal. Instead, it’s better to decrease the food you serve but do so in more frequent meals. It’s not that easy at first but you’ll get used to it eventually.
Most people are used to giving their dogs two (2) meals a day, and that’s where they tend to overfeed their canine companions because they usually give more food so as long as the dog eats.
Instead of doing that, try to measure the food of your dog, feed in smaller amounts, and distribute these small amounts up to four (4) meals a day with equal time intervals between.
Here are more tips to do the trick:
- Use a measuring cup to avoid overfeeding
- Know how much food your dog needs by referring to the feeding guidelines behind the back of the dog food
- Adjust portions to account for calories from treats and wet foods
3. More raw and canned food
Another thing you’d like to do to your dog’s diet is to increase the proportion of raw and canned foods. And you might want to do it on a daily basis.
Raw and canned foods are usually low in carbohydrates but high in meat protein – which is what you would like a dog food to be. Additionally, these are low in calories which is a big plus.
Here are tips on how to do this correctly:
- It’s more beneficial to go as low as 25% wet food
- Another ideal ratio you can prepare for your dog is 50% dry and 50% wet food
4. Never let your dog have access to food
Be observant enough especially if you have more than one animal at your care; your dog might be eating your other pet’s food.
An overweight dog usually shows dominance over the food resources in his given environment. Some dogs are smart enough to master the art of scarfing up any leftovers from other dogs and even cat food in some cases.
- If you have multiple dogs in your household, you can start by feeding them separately with different bowls. It’s better if they eat away and out of sight from each other.
- After about half an hour (15-30 minutes), pick up the food bowl even if they aren't finished eating yet.
- Another way is putting cat dishes out of reach of your dog.
Talk with a vet
While you can dive upon unlimited information in the web including this page, nothing still beats a veterinary statement – a professional who has examined your dog first hand. That said, you might want to consult your local vet first before following any instructions online – yes, including this one.
- Ask how you can rule out fundamental conditions that contribute to weight
- Ask the vet about your dog’s health status. He might be suffering from thyroid disease, diabetes, or any illness that influences his weight
Causes of dog obesity
According to PetMD, dog obesity is usually caused by an imbalance between energy intake and energy usage. Obesity happens when a god eats more than he can possibly spend.
1. Senior dogs
Obesity can come due to an old age. It’s kinda normal considering most dogs tend to become inactive in their senior years. They’re not as energetic as they are before.
2. Unhealthy eating habits
This one’s the most common reason why dogs become obese – and you, as the pet parent, is part of the blame. Unhealthy eating diets include too many treats and high-calorie foods.
How about if you dog’s showing signs opposite to obesity? You might want to check how to get a dog to gain weight.
Managing your overweight dog
Obesity follow-up treatments include regular communication with your vet – especially if you’d consulted him for a weight reduction program. This includes monthly monitoring of your dog’s weight and a follow-up maintenance program after your dog has attained ideal weight.
If there’s one important thing you need to remind yourself is it’s NOT just the battle of your dog but it’s YOURS too. You are responsible for guiding your precious furball into his ideal weight.
While everything stated in this article is compiled and synthesized by thorough research and careful consideration, nothing can substitute a professional diagnosis by a veterinarian. We can guarantee that we are educated enough to carefully choose natural solutions and construct them into this piece of post, but we highly advise that you still go to the veterinarian before actually seeking for online help and support.
All you need to have is a firm commitment not just to your dog’s weight but to his overall wellbeing for that matter. One thing most pet-parents do wrong is when they ignore the first signs of dog obesity. Taking your dog’s increasing weight for granted will only prolong your agony.
It’s never too late to start getting informed on how to help your dog lose weight. That way you’ll be confident enough that your dog is eating a healthy diet and feeling his best!