In this post, I’ll take a closer look at obesity in dogs and explore some of the possible causes. I’ll also outline 13 weight loss tips to help your dog lose weight.
As a dog owner, have you ever wondered if your furry friend is a little chubby?
If you’re like most dog parents, you probably want your furry friend to be as healthy as possible. And if your dog is overweight, then it’s time to take action!
Obesity is becoming a common problem in dogs, and it’s something we should all be aware of.
Dogs in the USA are among the most obese in the world, and this is seriously impacting their health. About 56% of American dogs are overweight or obese, according to a study by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention.
That’s a lot of pups carrying around too many extra pounds!
Whether your pup is overweight or just starting to gain some extra pounds, just follow these 13 weight loss tips, and you and your furry friend will get on the road to a healthier lifestyle!
What are the risks of obesity in dogs?
Excess weight can lead to a host of health problems for dogs. As with people, dogs that are obese are more likely to suffer from several health problems, including:
- Heart disease
- Respiratory problems
- Joint pain
So, if you’re concerned about your dog’s weight, it’s important to do something about it. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to help your dog lose weight.
What can I do to help my dog lose weight?
Losing weight is hard.
It takes time, effort, and dedication.
But what if you could make it a little bit easier on yourself?
What if there was a way to help your dog lose weight without too much extra work on your part?
By following a few simple tips, you can help your furry friend shed those extra pounds.
#1 Increase your dog’s physical activity
Regular physical activity is an important part of a healthy lifestyle for humans and dogs as well.
If your dog is carrying around extra weight, increasing their physical activity can help them slim down and improve their overall health.
You can increase your dog’s physical activity and get your furry bud into shape in many ways.
There’s no need to bring your dog to the gym to start losing weight 🙂
You should incorporate physical activity depending on your dog’s breed, age, and general health.
For starters, you could start with short intervals of walking to prevent injuries. Start exercising with your dog for 15 – 20 min, twice a day.
Later, when the dog is in shape, you can gradually increase the intensity and length. Then you can try more frequent and longer walks.
In addition to walking, you can try other outdoor activities that will help your dog forget about eating, such as running, playing ball, or swimming.
All of these activities are good for the dog’s cardiovascular health and musculature as they increase the dog’s metabolic rate and keep lean body muscle mass.
#2 Focus on a high protein and low carbohydrate diet
When you’re feeding your dog foods that are full of carb-based fillers, you’re not helping them to lose weight.
And many commercial foods today rely on starches that increase calories but not nutrition.
On the other hand, dogs fed high-protein, low carbohydrates diets have lost more body fat than those fed a low-protein diet.
According to a recent study, a high protein diet has potential benefits in reducing body fat in dogs while maintaining lean muscle mass.
This diet promotes greater weight loss in both, humans and dogs.
You don’t need to reduce the calorie intake of your dog’s diet.
Instead, change the macronutrient value of your dog’s diet from low-carb to high-protein food.
This type of diet can help to promote weight loss by reducing the amount of fat stored in the body and promoting lean muscle mass.
Furthermore, a high protein diet can help to keep your dog feeling full, so they’re less likely to beg for food or snacks between meals.
When selecting a high protein diet for your dog, make sure to choose one that is high in quality proteins and low in fillers and empty calories.
You should also work with your veterinarian to determine an appropriate caloric intake for your dog based on their weight, activity level, and health condition.
#3 Look for a high protein, high fiber diet
This diet is similar to a high protein diet but introduces dietary fibers to make dogs more satiating. HPHF diet helps with weight loss by slowing the absorption and increasing the feeling of fullness in a short period (the weight loss is faster).
Eating fibers will help suppress your dog’s appetite, it will keep your dog satisfied longer and he/she won’t be hungry as on a regular diet.
The HPHF diet also prevents your dog’s body from absorbing some calories from the food he/she eats.
Your dog will lose weight more quickly with this diet than dogs fed with fiber only or a high protein diet only, according to a study published on PubMed.
Some studies are confirming that this diet promotes weight loss better than a protein-only or fiber-only diet.
Also, you can give some spicy foods to your dog to boost metabolism.
Read more about spices good for dogs.
#4 Keep the water bowl full
Keeping your dog’s bowl full of clear and fresh water will make them drink more and feel fuller.
But, maybe your dog will refuse to drink water at feeding time.
If this happens you could add a little water to dry kibbles or top their kibbles with wet food.
However, be sure to monitor your pet’s health because this food and water mix could induce discomfort or bloat.
Feeding a fresh diet without carb-based fillers will reduce overall calorie intake and help your dog lose weight more healthily.
Of course, offering fresh water before feeding will always satisfy cravings and help your pup feel full.
#5 Always feed at the same time
You need to create a regular feeding schedule and stick to it. Having a regular feeding plan during the day will help your pet friend overcome hunger and adapt to his new diet easier.
When you’re feeding your dog at the same time of the day you’re creating a routine for them because they are using their circadian rhythm to know when it’s feeding time.
This way, dogs create habits and adapt their appetite. In short, your dog will stop begging for more food and start losing weight quicker.
#6 Feed multiple times a day
You’re not doing your dog a favor when you leave the food bowl out all day.
Dogs are pretty much like people. They overeat out of boredom. Many dogs fed free get overweight which leads to other health issues. Even worse, this food attracts insects and rodents or can go rancid in hot weather.
On the other hand, dividing their daily portion into two or three meals per day will help your dog not feel hungry between meals and keep their ideal weight. This is crucial for large dogs because they require more calories than small or medium breeds.
Also, feeding multiple times a day promotes regular bowel movements, plus you can track the amount of eaten food easier cause it’s more predictable.
#7 Don’t free-feed your dog
Dogs are not gourmands, but many of them overeat when they have unlimited access to food.
Overeating leads to obesity which contributes to joints, lung, kidney, and digestive problems. Therefore, you need to closely monitor how much you’re feeding your canine friend and take the food away right after feeding time.
Feeding at the same time and the same amount of food will eliminate vomiting and digestive problems so your pooch won’t poop all day. This method will eliminate the begging too.
#8 Cut back on treats
Many dog owners use highly processed high-calorie treats as rewards for training purposes.
This might be a problem if you need to manage your dog’s healthy weight. If your canine companion should shed a few pounds maybe it’s time to switch to low-calorie treats or look for some healthy alternatives.
Adding fresh chopped apples, strawberries, melon, carrots, frozen peas, broccoli, green beans, celery, or asparagus to their diet can be a good alternative to all those high-carb treats. Many veterinarians recommend reducing dog treats to only 10% of your dog’s daily calorie intake.
Also, avoid giving chocolate to your dog because it is highly toxic.
#9 Follow the recommended daily amounts on the food packaging
Every dog owner needs to consider several factors when determining ideal caloric intake, including breed, weight, activity level, and the dog’s body condition.
If you correctly follow the guidelines on the side of your dog’s food packaging there’s no chance to overfeed your canine companion.
However, most dog owners often end up overfeeding because they are not sure about their dog’s weight accurately or because of vaguely suggested portion size. If you’re not sure whether the recommended amount is per portion or is it per day ask your veterinarian.
The first step would be to know your dog’s weight, which is especially important for small breed dogs.
You don’t want to feed your pet three or four of the suggested amount a day when recommended portion on most food packaging is an amount for the whole day. Split the suggested amount or you will feed them more than they need.
Also, keep in mind that spayed or neutered dogs are less active and that’s why they need less energy than the highly active dogs. Following the manufacturer’s guidelines may cause those dogs to gain extra weight.
#10 Pay attention to how much you’re feeding your canine friend
Sometimes it is not a good idea to rely on generalized feeding recommendations because every dog is different. It’s possible that feeding two same dogs the same amount of food would cause one to gain extra weight. Every dog is an individual and has unique metabolic needs. Check the feeding guidelines for different dog breads.
If using a measured portion try reducing the amount by five to ten percent to recommended amount. Other, more precise ways will help you know how much you need to feed. You just need to put in age, lifestyle, and your dog’s body condition score (BCS) in the feeding calculator and it will determine exactly how much of a specific food type you should feed your pup. On a scale from 1 to 9, dogs rated 5/9 would be the ones with ideal body weight, while very obese dogs are those with a 9/9 body condition score.
#11 Reward your dog with fun
If you want to help your dog get in shape you need to stimulate them physically and mentally too. On many occasions, just a simple walk or playing with your furry friend would be enough to make them stop begging for food.
Instead of offering too many treats as a reward, it’s better to introduce as many as possible non-food rewards. Simply head-scratching, belly rubs, or a round of fetch might be enough reward for a happy dog.
It’s okay to use high-protein treats sometimes, but if you need them for everyday training then low-calorie raw vegetables are a better option.
#12 Use slow-feeders or interactive food puzzles
One way you can slow down your dog while eating is to add water to dry kibbles. But, once you realize that dogs are opportunistic eaters you might consider including food toys in your feeding arsenal.
There are many products on the market today you can use to help your dog feel fuller faster. Slow feeding bowls are designed in a challenging and enjoyable way that will help slow down your dog’s eating and stimulate them mentally at the same time (as well).
Creating food puzzles for your canine companion to solve could be great exercise too.
Spreading food onto the floor is always a popular way that will make your pet look for his food.
You can easily incorporate all those methods in your feeding routine to slow down an obese dog while eating.
#13 Rule out medical problems that could contribute to dog weight gain
If you’ve implemented any method mentioned above and your pooch still looks like German sausage maybe it’s better to talk to your vet. Your dog’s excessive weight and cause of obesity could be a symptom of hypothyroidism and Cushing’s syndrome. To rule out any medical condition to help your pet friend lose weight, it’s best to talk with your vet.
How to Help your dog lose weight – bottom line
If your dog is overweight, there are a few things you can do at home to help them manage their weight. However, it’s important to speak with your veterinarian if you need help getting started or want more individualized advice for your pet.
They may recommend a specific diet and exercise plan that will work best for your dog, and together you can get them back on the path to good health.
Remember, obesity in dogs can lead to serious health problems, so don’t wait until it’s too late – start helping your furry friend today!