Helping An Overweight Dog Shed Extra Weight

We try to help our dogs stay on track with eating the right amount of food and not having too many treats, but it can be hard, especially when your dog looks up at you with those puppy eyes. Then one day you realize that those extra bits of food your dog has snagged have caught up with him. Now the question is, how do you help and overweight dog lose weight?

Overweight Dog

Determining If Your Dog Is Overweight

While a trip to the vet can certainly determine if your dog isn’t where he should be with his weight, you can also get a good idea just by looking at him. The American Kennel Club provides some helpful guidelines for determining if your dog is too heavy.

  • Look to see if you can make our your dog’s ribs, spine, and waistline
  • Notice if he seems short of breath from relaxed exercise
  • Observe if he has trouble getting up and moving around
  • Check if his abdomen sags, when looking at him from the side

This helpful chart, provided by Pet Food Manufacturers Association, can also help give you an idea of where your dog is at with his weight.

Overweight Dog

Why It Is Bad For Your Dog To Be Overweight

The reasons it is bad for dogs to be overweight are similar to humans, Rosenfeld explains in her article. Problems like diabetes, heart disease, and joint issues can occur. These issues can shorten your dog’s lifespan.

In addition to these issues, excess weight can cause a dog to be at greater risk for surgical complications, hormone problems, respiratory disorders, and cancer, according to The Kennel Club.

And, if you don’t do anything quickly to help your dog lose weight, he can develop arthritis. This can make it even harder for him to get back in shape down the line. If you suspect that your dog weighs more than is healthy, it is important to be proactive.

Fixing The Problem

First, it is a good idea to check in with your vet to make sure that there aren’t any medical reasons for your overweight dog, says Rosenfeld. Talk to your vet about what your dogs target weight should be. Once you have had those conversations, there are several steps you can take to get your dog back on track.

  •  Exercise- This is key to your dog’s health for many reasons, but can also help your dog to shed excess pounds. If your dog is really out of shape, start with short walks and build up to longer ones. Make an effort to get your dog moving every day.
  •  Portion Size- If you are giving your dog too much food on a daily basis, he is going to gain weight. Plus, the recommended servings on the bag are quite generic and usually lean toward overfeeding. Talk to your vet about your brand of dog food, and see how much your dog should be getting per meal.
  • Treats- It can be hard not to reward your dog every time he does something good, especially because he gets so excited over treats! But try limiting the number of treats you give your dog per day. Instead, praise him with pats and attention as a reward.
Overweight Dog
  • Food Diary- Blue Cross For Pets recommends writing down for a few days everything that your dog eats, including table scraps from people. This will help give you a better idea of what your dog consumes on a daily basis.
  • Protein and Fiber- The Kennel Club says that a diet that is rich in fiber and protein and low in fat is best for keeping your pup healthy and in shape.
  • Time of Day- Portion your dog’s food into more than one meal a day, and feed him at times when he will have a chance to move around after. If you feed him too late in the day he will just fall asleep after eating. This doesn’t allow him to burn off any of the calories that he took in.
  • Limit Access- If you have other pets, it can be difficult to stop your dog from snacking on his cat sibling’s food. Place the food of other pets in a place where your dog can’t get to it. If this isn’t an option, supervise feeding times to make sure your dog isn’t sneaking extra bites of food.

How Long Does It Take To See Results?

Blue Cross For Pets says that it is healthy for a dog to lose weight at 1% per week. So if your dog weighs 50 pounds but should weigh 45, you can expect it to take about 10 weeks for him to hit his target weight.

A Success Story

Just like humans trying to lose weight need motivation, humans trying to get their dogs to lose weight need inspiration too. Here is a before and after picture provided by Daily Mail of Obie, a Dachshund who lost 50 pounds.

Overweight Dog
Healthy Dog

Obie went from being 77 pounds to being a slim and healthy 27 pounds. His current owner took him in after he was nearly fed to death. She put him on a strict diet and eventually got him to the point where he could exercise.

While most dogs aren’t this obese, Obie’s story shows that with a lifestyle change, anything is possible. If Obie can lose weight, your dog can too!

Be Proactive

It can seem like a lot of work to try to change your dog’s eating habits. Your dog may not be too happy about it at first either. Be patient, and keep in mind that you are doing what is best for your dog.

As your overweight dog loses weight, he will start to have more energy and feel better in general. Remember, helping your dog shed excess pounds is an important part of you and your canine pal having a long, happy life together.

About the author

Melanie Fox

Hi there, I'm Melanie Fox, editor at Beloved Bark. We look to provide people with the knowledge and tools to make smarter, more educated choices for their dogs. We have made it our mission to inform our followers with expert advice and recommendations, that will make a difference in your dog's life.

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