Updated: Mar 18, 2019
We are in the 'BONE' section taking a look at health and nutrition!
We understand. Your dog looks at you with those puppy eyes and it is very hard to resist giving them that extra treat, something from your own plate, or an extra scoop of food at dinner. However we STRONGLY recommend resisting at all costs!
Did you know that if your dog is overweight, that can take 1-2 years off of their life? And their lives are so short to begin with!
So how can you get your dog to lose weight? Well, the first step is determining what your dog's ideal weight is. Vets use a body conditioning score that is determined by whether they can make out the ribs in your dog and how much fat is visible on their body. If the ribs cannot be seen, and their stomach looks rounded and barrel shaped from above, this is a sign that they are overweight.
Your dog should lose weight slowly and consistently. No crash diets around here! Small changes to their daily activity levels, the amount of food they get, and number of treats will ensure they lose the pounds safely.
Always consult your vet before embarking on a weight loss regime for your dog. There are times when there are underlying issues that will need treating by a different diet like kidney problems.
Here are 5 things you can do differently to help your dog shed a few pounds:
1) Get a proper measuring cup when dishing out their meals.
It gets very easy to just ‘guesstimate’ that what you are giving them is the same every day and the recommended amount too. By using an actual measuring cup and making sure it is not a heaping scoop you can control what they are eating. This can help your dog save ½ cup to a cup A DAY on extra food and calories!
2) More exercise! This is obvious. Do you take them for two walks a day, of at least 20 minutes? Or do you just let them out into the yard or garden? Organize a play-date with some doggy friends, arrange a dog walk somewhere new, join a dog agility class, go outside into the yard and throw a ball instead of leaving them to entertain themselves, book a session at a dog friendly pool, book them into a day care where they will run around with others while you are at work. The opportunities for more exercise is endless!
3) Cut out treats and scraps from the table
Like with us humans, it can be easy to forget the number of cookies we actually ate, or the extra slice of toast mid-morning. Measure out the exact amount of food you will be giving them in one day, and if you are doing any training grab a handful from their allotted daily amount to use as treats! Of course, we want everyone to be happy so some treats are fine but know how many a day you will use and don’t go over, or use lower calorie treats.
4) Change their food
This shouldn’t be the first thing you do but something to be aware of. Make sure they are eating the appropriate food for their age, and the recommended amount. Puppies should be eating a puppy formula as it is slightly higher in fat and has different ratios of calcium and phosphorus to help their bones and muscles grow at an appropriate rate to each other. Adult dogs shouldn’t be eating a puppy food unless recommended by a vet. There are a ton of different foods out their with higher fiber and protein, that are especially formulated to help your dog cut the calories and lose some pounds without affecting their muscle density.
5) Keep an eye on their weight by using the scales at the vets or a pet store.
A lot of pet stores have weigh scales that you can use to measure your dog. Keeping an eye on this will show your dog’s progress and help you maintain their ideal weight. How fast should a dog lose weight? Around 1-2% of their body weight a week.
Have any of your dogs had success with these changes? Or did you try something else that got results?!