Dog Weight Loss Diet

Looking for an effective dog weight loss diet?

Pebble, our tan colored Chiweenie, looking really buff after we helped her lose weightPebble, our Chiweenie, looking really buff

Using very simple methods, we've had great success with dog weight loss with two of our dogs, Pebble and F.B. (a black Lab/Shepherd mix).

A side benefit was that their health problems cleared up!

How to Tell If Your Dog Is Overweight

Veterinarians say you should be able to easily feel your dog's ribs, regardless of breed. If you cannot feel your dog's ribs, your dog has a weight problem.

You should be able to see a ripple but NOT see individual ribs...

Skip ahead to view our dog weight loss diet tips.

Dog Weight Problems

Why do vets advocate for a more healthy dog weight? Well, any extra weight (even just 1 lb for small dog) can be harmful to your dog in the long run.

According to Dr. Jones, a veterinarian who owns an animal hospital in Nelson, British Columbia, physical ailments that are worsened or caused by excess weight include:

  • Arthritis and other joint problems (refer back to F.B.'s story)
  • Diabetes
  • Dog's immune system does not work as well as it should
  • Heart disease
  • Dog's liver not as effective at removing waste products

Obstacles to Dog Weight Loss

Why are so many dogs too fat? We believe that in most cases, it has to do with the owner's perceptions:

  • Some dog owners constantly give their dogs treats as an expression of affection.
  • Dog lovers may not realize that most dogs are smaller than people and require less food.
  • People are used to seeing animals that are overweight and think this is normal.
  • Dog owners find it too difficult to exercise their dogs adequately.

There are also dogs who are very good at seizing every opportunity to gobble down unauthorized sources of food. This may include food belonging to another pet in the household, human supplies that the dog gets into, and scraps that the dog scrounges while on or off leash.

Our Dog Weight Loss Tips

1. Dog food recommendations to help your dog lose weight:

  • Gradually reduce the amount of food and/or table scraps if you're feeding too much.
  • Change the type of dog food if it's not healthy. For example, fatty foods such as chicken skin, bacon, hot dogs and cold cuts are not good for dogs and can cause pancreatitis or hemorraghic gastroenteritis.
  • Adjust the amount you feed your dog to weather conditions - a dog may need less in warmer weather unless they're getting a huge amount of exercise (we believe this is why Comet started sometimes refusing to eat in Florida - he knew it was too much/too rich for his needs).

2. Exercise to complement your dog weight loss program:

Comet met a much bigger dog on a walk. Both were at a healthy weight.
  • Explore your neighborhood - take your dog for walks in different places. This helps your dog's mental health too!
  • Try a variety of other exercise methods - see Dog Exercise
  • Treat your dog to an exercise area instead of giving food.
  • Play with your dog actively indoors or outdoors.
  • Use obedience training to give attention with praise as the reward instead of a food item.

3. Dog treats as part of a dog weight loss diet:

  • Cut treats up into much smaller pieces.
  • Try using raw vegetables or fruit pieces as treats.
  • Limit the number of high fat treats to one or two a day.
  • Hide pieces of treat in various places in the house so your dog has to work for them and develops some skills. It's fun too - Comet loved playing "Find it!"

Benefits of a Dog Weight Loss Diet

  • Reduce dog suffering by avoiding or lessening arthritis and joint problems
  • Avoid other problems such as diabetes, heart problems etc.
  • Less poop to scoop
  • Less flatulence
  • Save money by buying less food and fewer treats
  • Save oodles on vet bills

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