Helping Your Dog Lose Weight

You know your dog is overweight. Losing weight is always easier than putting on the pounds. But getting your dog down to a healthy weight will help keep your dog healthy in so many ways. It’s not always easy, but think about adopting a new way of doing things, new strategies for helping your dog lose weight.

Overweight Dog - Canine Diabetes

A healthy weight promotes strong joints and muscles strong, healthy body systems in heart, lungs, digestion and circulation, and generally makes for a happier dog. Diseases like arthritis and diabetes, which is growing way too fast among dogs, are exacerbated most of the time by having too much weight.

Being overweight costs you more too. For example, in 2011, veterinary costs for treating one incidence of diabetes ranged from $900 to $5,700. For obesity-related conditions of arthritis, cost per incident ranged from $2,000 to $9,600. And there are so many other conditions that obesity makes worse from high blood pressure to pancreatitis to breathing problems.

According to a 2011 study by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, over half of the dogs and cats in the US are overweight, of this, one-fifth is considered obese – 30% above normal weight.

When looking at weight loss, we need to look at our attitudes toward food first. Part of your strategy should be changing the way you look at food and your dog. Often, we associate food with affection when it comes to our dogs. Dogs get that! Treats for good behavior, scraps from the table while we eat, snacks for the pup because we are too busy to play. But food does not (should not) be the only way of giving attention to our pets. Weight-loss success will happen we stop being  ‘food-centric’ relationships, and in fact become more ‘exercise-centric.  It’s better for your dog, it’s better for you too!

Here are other things to consider.

Strategies and tips for helping your dog lose weight
  • Determine with your vet what is the total daily food allowance and do not exceed it.
  • Feed your dog high-quality food. He’ll get better nutrition and more likely to feel full after eating the proper amount.
  • If you feel like you are starving your dog, serve several smaller meals during day.
  • Cut out starchy foods.
    • From your table: that is potatoes, rice, bread or baked goods.
    • In dog food, that is most likely dog treats. Many, many dog treats are full of simple sugars and starches (white flour, sugar) that put on the pounds.
  • Avoid calorie rich treats, chew or marrow bones. If you must snack, try to go healthier: homemade is usually the best bet, read all about homemade treats here.
    • Plain steamed veggies, such as broccoli, carrots, green beans, spinach.
    • Baby carrots, apples rice cakes for dogs used to treats.
    • Low-calorie dog treats.
  • Limit the number of treats you dog has in a day
  • Make sure everyone in your house is on the same page. Post the dog’s diet rules on the refridgerator to remind everyone.
  • Keep your dog in another room when you cook and when you eat.
  • Be patient. A change in diet takes time.

Take the time for all the non-food treats. a long walk, romp at the dog park, a new toy, a good rub down. These strategies for dog weight loss are a guide for you to create what works in your home and will change your dog’s life.