How to reduce your dog’s weight

How to reduce your dog’s weight

Your dog does not seem to care if it increases in weight. It would seem happy and healthy as long as it can chase the ball you tossed or jump on the sofa in your lounge. But the dogs suffering from arthritis may feel pain when their weight increases. So, if your pet dog begins to seem a little chubby to you, you should adjust a few routines for it. Eventually, your hard work will pay off, as you will be able to spend more quality time with your healthier and happier four-legged friend.

Why should your obese pet dog lose weight?

There are a few reasons why an obese dog should lose weight. A weight gain as low as four pounds can put your pet at risk of developing severe medical conditions. Some of these medical conditions can be the following:

  • Arthritis
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes Type II
  • Joint injuries
  • Intra-abdominal cancers
  • High blood pressure

Obese and overweight dogs also tend to live shorter than normal-weight, fitter dogs, as heavyweight causes them to be less energetic and interact less with family. 

The food factor.

Like humans, the weight loss program for dogs also comes down to two essential aspects: exercise and dieting. By far, the food factor is the most crucial aspect for a dog owner, wanting his pet to lose those extra pounds it gained and become in good shape. Therefore, this concludes that weight loss for dogs is around 70% dieting and 30% working out. 

Read below a few essentials to help your dog reduce weight via playing with its food intake.

Watch how much you feed your pet.

We humans do not count the calories we intake as a guide to weight loss, but for your pet dog, it is essential to set a benchmark on how much to feed it at one time. This simply means that you need to keep a check on the daily calory count your dog takes every day. However, you should not rely on what’s written on the backside of the label on your dog’s food can. Several factors influence a dog’s dietary requirements. Therefore, just by reading the label, do not end up over or underfeeding your dog, as it can result in severe medical conditions related to malnutrition.

The quality of food also matters.

In addition to counting calories for your pet dog, it is also necessary to feed him high-quality food like fresh, lower carb, whole food. Many processed dog foods are incredibly high on carbs, which goes as high as 70% when you break down the ingredients written on the label. Therefore, fresh foods provide high-quality proteins, along with moisture and fiber, keeping your pet satisfied and healthy without carby fillers. 

Treats count, so count them in!

As the title suggests, you should count the treats that your dog takes. This is another way to help reduce your pet’s weight by reducing or possibly controlling their treat intake. Understandably, no one wants to deny giving that tiny piece of a treat to their pet dogs as a reward for listening to them. However, you must check how many treats your dog takes in a day and if that is the reason behind your dog’s weight gain. Hence, set a benchmark of not giving your dog a treat more than 10-12% of its daily calory intake. The last point to make is that some of the everyday foods we eat, and would like to give as treats can be toxic for your dogs. 

What to do when your pet dog is hungry and pesters until fed?

Your pet dogs know exactly what buttons to press when it comes to asking for food. Therefore, here are some suggestions to follow when your dog is pleading for food. 

  • Avoid using self-feeders. They are nothing but just unlimited candy machines to make your already overweight dog more obese. 
  • If using an automatic feeder, make sure to set the portion it releases at a single time. 
  • Divert your dog’s mind when you see him pleading for food. Play or pet him until your dog finally learns that playtime displaces mealtime.
  • In severe cases, go for a walk with your dog if it is pleading too much. This distraction would be good enough for your dog to forget about food until his next mealtime.
  • Feed small but frequent meals. It is best to divide daily meals into six or seven parts, keeping the last portion a little larger than the previous five so that your dog does not wake you up in the middle of sleep, begging for more food. No matter how you divide the food, do not divert from the diet plan. 
  • Fresh food is healthy food. Hence keep a few fresh veggies as treats for your dog to enjoy, such as broccoli, baby carrots, celery, green beans, frozen sliced carrots, or asparagus. Most dogs like crunchy treats, so these veggies would work best as a low-calory and healthy treat choice. 
  • Avoid giving meat or carbohydrate treats to your pets, such as pasta or bread. 
  • Another way of satisfying your dog’s craving is to offer freshwater. Offer a bowl of cold freshwater when your dog is begging too much for more food. 

Did you check for a medical condition?

Even after giving your dog the diet, according to its weight loss plan, and you do not see any progress with the weight loss, pay a visit to your pet’s veterinarian, to rule out a medical condition, if any. Weight gain and lethargy can lead to Cushing’s Syndrome and Hyperthyroidism. However, hyperthyroidism occurs in dogs that are older in age, with symptoms like hair loss, weakness, and frequent urination. Make sure to get your dog checked and provide the necessary treatment if any medical condition occurs. 

How long would you need to put your dog on a diet?

Most dogs under a dietary plan would reach the desired results within five to seven months. If the process takes longer than this, then there is something you should consider changing. About one to five pounds monthly is regarded as a healthy weight loss in dogs, depending on their current condition and size. 

Final Thoughts.

However, the only secret to losing weight is nothing but being concerned, dedicated, and committed to your dog’s health. As good stewards, it is entirely up to us to protect our four-legged forever friends from any harm and not contribute to their developing diseases or premature death. Together, you and your dog’s vet can totally help your dog achieve a healthy weight safely and successfully. Good luck!

Tim Hanson (87)

Contributing writer at Preferable Pups!