How To Help Your Dog Lose Weight

Feeding and Exercise Tips for Dogs

Obese animals have been shown to have shorter life spans, increased risk of disease and overall decreased energy levels. Being overweight has been found to cause diabetes, arthritis, increased cancer rates and cruciate disease.  Extra weight increases the load on the joints which damages cartilage.  The weight also puts extra strain on the cruciate ligament which can easily rupture causing pain and limping.  Cats are prone to obesity induced diabetes known as non insulin dependent diabetes. 

Becoming overweight is caused by more calories going in than coming out.  By first addressing the calories entering your pet and then how to get the calories out is a simple, but effective, method for getting your dog to lose weight. It can be very difficult and frustrating to get your dog to lose weight.  After years of research, nutritionists have found some easy steps for weight loss in cats and dogs.   Here are some simple methods designed to help your pet lose weight:  

Step 1

Decrease treats. Dog snacks and treats are one of the leading causes of dogs becoming overweight.  Treats such as Milk Bones and pigs ears can be very high in calories.  Alternatives to treats should be used to train animals.  Canned carrots and non-fat cottage cheese can be used as treats since they are healthy. The best method is to use a toy for a reward. Toys actually burn calories by stimulating exercise. 

Here is a real life example:

"Roger," the Border Collie, weighs 41 lbs., so he is allowed 1258 calories per day. Roger's parents give him two Milk Bones for shaking with his paw in the morning, and then one Milk Bone at night before bedtime. 

A large Milk Bone contains 115 calories. 

345 calories for 3 large milk bones = 27% of his daily calorie allowance 

This is a good example of how a couple treats can easily fill 1/3 the daily allowance of calories for you pet.   

**calories based on Metabolic energy requirement= (30 x kg) + 70

Step 2

Limit amount of food. Decreasing the amount of food being given daily should be the first item addressed in obese animals.  If your dog is overweight, then they are eating too many calories period.  Decreasing calories starts by knowing EXACTLY how much food your pet is eating.  One of the biggest problems with pet owners is they just use handfuls of food or use the bowl to scoop up the food.  

Use a measuring device and be consistent. If there is no weight loss in 3 weeks, then decrease the amount by 25%.  Continue decreasing the amount until they are being feed less than a cup.  If this does not work, then they are acquiring calories from a different source and you need to reference Step #1.

Step 3

Increase exercise. This addresses the calories leaving the body.  Swimming is a great way to get the most for your effort; it is low impact and takes less work on the owner's side.  Long walks or jogs are also great ways to get rid of excess pounds for both your pet and yourself. 

Step 4

Weigh your pets. Make sure to weigh your pets every week to ensure you are gaining ground.  You can visit your local veterinarian's office and ask to use their scale.  A good diet should show a loss of 1-3 pounds per week. 

Step 5

Choose food carefully. Switching to a light food is a great way to keep your pets from feeling like they're starving while still decreasing the amount of calories ingested. 

If these methods are used, then it is impossible for your dog not to lose weight.  If you do not see an improvement in 8- 12 weeks, then you are not following these steps accurately.  Weight can only be put on if the calories are there to build it.  Remember for calories: decrease the IN's and increase the OUT's. 

PetVetWisdom is a free website, owned and maintained only by veterinarians.  PetVetWisdom’s goal is to provide the most researched information on pet care and save pet owners money on every day products.


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