How Can My Dog Lose Weight?
If you think your dog needs to lose weight, you might not be sure exactly how to go about it.
It’s always best to ask your vet for instructions, but in the meantime, we’ll give you a few tips and pointers.
How can I tell if My Dog is Fat?
First, you need to assess if your dog is actually fat.
There are handy charts online that will show you what your dog should look like.
Weights vary among breeds, so it is better to look at your dog than at the scale. Find out if there is a specific diagram for your breed or breed type.
Why is My Dog Fat?
How much food are you feeding her?
Sometimes we forget that they don’t need as much food as we do. Or, we lose track of how many treats or bites from the table we have given them.
If you are feeding your dog the recommended amounts for its breed or size, food might not be the problem. It could be lack of exercise, not enough water, or a health problem.
If your dog isn’t eating too much it might be suffering from a medical issue.
Dogs can have hormonal imbalances and other weight gaining medical problems just like humans. Your vet can run tests to find out ranging from inexpensive to up to $2000.
Ask the vet to do the tests after she’s determined that it’s not you that is the problem and to do the cheaper tests first.
If your dog has recently acquired a distended stomach, take him to the vet right away. Bloat can be caused by problems in their organs or digestive systems. If left untreated, bloat can be fatal. Not to scare you, but if you’re using a national brand dog food, do an internet search for illnesses and side effects in dogs that eat that brand. Some dog foods have caused enlarged spleens and other organs – which can lead to acute illness and even death.
Do you suspect that this is a medical issue? Then take your dog to the vet and follow the vet’s recommended dietary instructions.
Are you 100% sure this is not a medical issue? Do you know for sure that you overfeed your dog?
How to Put a Dog on a Diet
If you are certain that your dog is overweight and that it was not caused by a health problem, you can try reducing your dog’s intake of extras. Extras being more than the recommended amount of food for its size, breed, or age.
Do you use an automatic feeder for your dog? Are you giving an obesity-prone breed all-day access to the food bowl? Or worse, the cat’s food bowl? Take those things up and don’t use them anymore.
Get a container and measure the recommended amount of food for a day into it. That way you will know how much food your dog has had and how much he has left. Vets vary on how many meals this should be divided into. Some say at least two meals to avoid bloat, some say more to ensure satisfaction.
What about dogs that are used to lots of treats? Especially treats after going to the bathroom or taking a bath?
That’s easy: put down the lunchmeat and forget the cheese. Don’t give him fake meat grocery store treats.
Remember that all of these things contain nitrates, sodium, fat, and other contributors to weight gain in dogs.
If you are overly tempted to give your dog human food as treats, do it in a healthy way. Try carrots sliced into rounds, or even frozen carrots. Broiled, unflavored white meat chicken is okay if cut into tiny bits and given one bit at a time.
Or, try a high-quality dog treat made from natural and healthy ingredients. But, make sure to account for these treats in relation to how much food your dog is supposed to have that day.
Remember that your dog has no idea what a diet is. None at all. So, telling your dog, “No, you’re on a diet” is not going to make any sense.
If your dog asks for a treat when it’s not time to eat, be sure to let her know that she is loved but that she can’t have anything right now. Then distract her with something else.
How to Keep a Dieting Dog Happy
To keep your dog’s mind off what it can’t have, give it something else. A good chew toy or a bone to gnaw on will satisfy some of its frustration. A game with a toy or a walk is even better.
Just like us, dogs find comfort and entertainment in food.
Help your dog find comfort and entertainment elsewhere.
Create an Exercise Plan for Your Dog
This doesn’t have to be tough, it just has to be something you remember.
If you walk your dog once a day, double the distance or increase the number of walks to two or more.
Pick a time for when you’re going to exercise your dog and have a plan for rainy days. For instance, if there’s a reason you can’t go out, use that space of time for a game of fetch or chase or whatever gets your dog moving.
You may be able to reduce your dog’s weight simply by increasing your dog’s activity and by making better choices in what you feed your dog. You might not have to cut back on the amount or do anything drastic.
Do consider talking to your vet about a custom meal plan for your dog. It is better to let your vet judge your dog’s condition and what it needs.