Dogs are a man’s best friend. When it comes to dogs, you want them to live as long as possible, providing your loving companionship until their last days. What is troubling with excessive weight for dogs is the fact that it can lead to various health complications and can even shorten the lifespan of your pooch. This is primarily why many people who have overweight dogs look for means to promote weight loss.
Weight loss for some dogs is a means to achieve good overall health and lead a healthier life. Their vitals would be in better condition and they will also enjoy a more active lifestyle.
Fat is far away from fit. Weight gain in dogs can lead to a host of issues including diabetes, heart disease and painful joints. These complications can worsen with age and it is important that your pooch maintain good health as they age. After all, it is your duty to take care of your loving pup.
If you are unable to feel the ribs beneath a layer of muscle and fat, this is probably because your dog is carrying excessive weight. By simply placing your hand on your dog’s ribs, you can get a good idea of how much weight they are carrying and whether they stand to lose a few pounds.
You for certain have an overweight pooch on your hands and would like to know exactly what you should be doing with regards to your dog’s diet to ensure that they lose a healthy amount of weight. After all, that is why you are here.
However, before anything else, we should advise you that if you think your dog needs to lose weight, you should first and foremost consult your veterinarian. A general checkup will help you to find any health problems your dog may be having that is causing the weight gain, such as hypothyroidism. It will also give you the opportunity to understand exactly how much weight your dog needs to lose. Better yet, your vet would be able to give you especially guided direction on what you should be feeding your dog and how to go about getting your dog to lose weight, based on the size and breed of your dog.
With that in mind, we have compiled some helpful bits of information that may help you better understand how to go about dealing with an overweight dog. After all, the ball is in your court. It is you who feeds the dog and you are in control of what they eat. Therefore it is you that is responsible for the weight they carry.
Let’s dive a litter deeper and try to understand the alterations to the diet that you should seek to make to facilitate weight loss, so you have a good idea of how to go about feeding your dog for weight loss.
Diet Alterations for Weight Loss
A great trick that many people rely on is switching to ‘lite’ food. You don’t have to switch to ‘lite’ food and can easily work on portion control to attain weight loss too. However, switching to ‘lite’ food allows you to feed your dog the same amount of food that you normally would, leading to a more satisfied dog. However, due to the ‘lite’ nature of the food that you feed your dog, they would be consuming fewer calories.
When it comes to diet alterations, switching to ‘lite’ food would be a good starting place. The trick is including high-fibre food in your dog’s meals which will help them stay satisfied and full for a longer period of time. The high-fibre content of certain food makes them one of the best means to achieve weight loss.
Though dogs come from wolves and are often mistaken for being carnivores too, dogs are actually omnivores animals. This means, they eat and digest both plant and animal matter. Hence, don’t shy away from healthy high-fibre vegetables. Including a can of fresh steamed green beans or pumpkin would make for an excellent component of a meal to provide them with high nutritional value, simultaneously helping them lose weight.
Low calorie foods such as vegetables allow your dog to eat more and still lose weight. It may become difficult for you as a dog owner to serve a small portion of a meal they are normally used to and watch as they slowly eat it up and sit with a sad face or even come beg for more. Hence, it is a good idea to find low calories alternatives, ‘lite’ foods that will allow you to feed your dog a good portion to ensure that they are full, however further ensuring that they consume fewer calories.
Canned food can become a valuable addition to your dog’s diet though the nutrient content of canned food varies from brand to brand. So long as you find canned food that is higher in protein and lower in carbohydrates, they will contain fewer calories. Canned dog food contains fewer calories than dry food (kibble). Hence, if you are feeding your dog dry food (kibble), it is a good idea to make the switch to canned food.
Your dog needs protein. Hence any valuable protein source that you add to the meal will facilitate better health. It is the carbohydrate sources that you should be careful of. Dog food that contains a high amount of carbohydrates will not help your dog lose weight. Hence, it is important that you find something that has a higher concentration of protein and a lower concentration of carbohydrates, resulting in fewer calories and better weight loss.
Remember, do not sidestep the importance of high-fibre food in weight loss. Apart from the protein that your dog requires, adding high-fibre foods into your dog’s meal will provide extra weight to the meals, making these meals bountiful, leaving your dog satisfied. However, once again, you don’t want to overdo high-fibre food such as vegetables. Your dog needs protein and is heavily reliant on protein. Hence always ensure that the meal contains a higher portion of protein, coupled with a smaller portion of high-fibre food which will add bulk to the meal.
How Much Food Should You Feed Your Dog For Weight Loss?
When you are trying to get your dog to lose weight, you have to place them on a diet. This means portion control. If you are used to leaving dry food on the ground for your pooch to eat as they feel, it is time to take control of how much they eat and when they eat. Firstly, you want to stop leaving dry food out for them to eat at will. Secondly, you want to slowly cut down the portion of the meals that they eat.
A diet only starts when you have cut down, one-third or one-half of the food that they normally consume. It is a good idea to stick with this reduced portion until they reach a healthy weight. You will have to remain strong when you start reducing your dog’s meal portions. You will get many pleading looks that will melt your heart and lead you to think that your dog is starving. That is far from the truth. Even feeding them half of what they normally eat would provide them with a good amount of nutrition to keep them properly fed. Be strong, your dog will not starve. You are only doing what is best for your dog and you have to do what is necessary to take control of their eating habits.
Remember, the amount recommended on the bag of dog food or on the can is only a starting point that is intended to be a guide. All dogs have varying needs and the amount they eat depends on a host of factors such as their metabolism, the type of food they eat, the amount of exercise they get and even their age.
Hence, after your dog has lost the excess weight, you should work to adjust the amount of food that they eat until you find the amount that works best to sustain a healthy weight.
It is a good idea to track the number of calories they are consuming. If you speak to your vet, they will tell you exactly the number of calories that your dog burns every day; this is different for every dog, based on size and breed. To facilitate weight loss, you will want to maintain a calorie deficit and closely monitoring your dog’s calorie intake will help you take better control of the weight loss process.
How Often to Feed Overweight Dog?
When it comes to weight loss, you want to refrain from feeding your dog one large meal per day. Feeding them once a day will often lead to overeating and will also lead to improper digestion. It is best to feed your dog small portions, two to four times a day.
Feeding them four meals spread out throughout the day as opposed to one large meal once a day will lead to a good calorie distribution. Not only does it prevent your dog from overfeeding, it will also work to ensure that small portions satisfy your dog’s needs at various points of the day.
Feeding them more often is a great way to take control of the portions they eat. It is easier to reduce the portion of the meal when you are feeding them four times a day. Simply feeding them once a day will otherwise have a counter effect, which will make controlling portions very difficult. After all, if you are feeding your dog only one meal a day, you don’t want to hold back too much on the portion.
At the end of the day, you want your dog to be happy. Increasing the number of meals will help you better reduce the portions, simultaneously ensuring that your pooch is properly fed and happy.
Fruits and Vegetables for Dogs
Though dogs are considered carnivores by many people, dogs are actually omnivores animals which means they can eat and digest plant and animal matter too. When it comes to losing weight, as with humans, fruits and vegetables play an integral role in the success that is observed.
Though you don’t want to be overfeeding your dog fruits and vegetables, small portions of fruits and vegetables can be a great way to add bulk to your dog’s meal. You should for certain be feeding your dog more protein than fruits and vegetables. Do not place your dog on an all-vegetable diet in hopes of rapid weight loss. This can be unhealthy for dogs who do require a good amount of protein in their meals to maintain optimum health.
One-half to one-third of the meal can be composed of vegetables and fruits, which will work to provide the meal with a good amount of fibre. This will allow your dog to eat smaller portions and yet feel full. The fibre in fruits and vegetables makes it is less likely that they will experience hunger in between meals.
When it comes to vegetables, there are plenty of vegetables that are considered safe for dogs. Here is a list of vegetables that are considered safe, which will provide as great addition to your dog’s meal to help facilitate weight loss.
- Sweet Potatoes
- Green Beans
- Carrots Cabbage
That being the case, there are certain vegetables that are dangerous for dogs and should be avoided to prevent them from hampering your pooch’s health. Some of the vegetables that should be avoided include,
- Wild Mushrooms
To get a better idea of the value of vegetables for dogs and to better understand which vegetable to feed your dog, we recommend that you read this article linked herewith.
Fruits can be a great treat for your dog and can easily replace regular dog treats. They work great as a low-calorie alternative that you can feed your dog to reward them for good behaviour.
Some fruits that are considered safe for dogs include,
Much like vegetables, some fruits are considered dangerous for dogs and should be avoided for their own safety. Fruits that should be avoided include,
- Wild Berries
To get a better idea of the types of fruits that dogs can safely consume and the various benefits of each fruit in the diet of a dog, we recommend that you read this article, linked herewith.
Healthy Dog Treats to Help Reduce Weight
Dog treats are one of the most common reasons why dogs gain weight. You as a dog owner would know how much they enjoy their treats and it is often difficult for us to say no to our dogs when it comes to treats. However, it is very important that you take control of everything that your dog eats and not simply control the meals they consume.
Treats play a big part in the number of calories that your dog consumes. A 10 lbs dog should only be getting 1 small biscuit. If you feed them treats more often, it could lead to resistance to weight loss and even weight gain.
When you are trying to lose weight, you want to steer clear of the conventional treats and opt for healthier options. Fruits and vegetables work really well as healthy alternatives for dog treats and provide the means to reward your dog for good behaviour without packing on the calories.
A few baby carrots or a bite-sized piece of apple can work equally well as a treat and can even be used to get them to be more active. After all, treats are the means to reward your pooch for exercise and good behaviour.
If you are looking for healthy treats to motivate them to exercise, nothing works better than fresh fruits and vegetables. Just make sure that you are relying on a fruit and vegetable that is considered safe for dogs. After all, unlike humans, they simply cannot eat and properly digest all fruits and vegetables.
Creating a Weight Reduction Meal Plan for Your Dog
You should never place your dog on a diet without the assistance of a veterinary healthcare team. This is why we mentioned in the very early stages of this article, that you should consult your vet first and foremost to get the direction that you require to further healthy weight loss.
When creating a weight reduction meal plan for your dog, you want to maintain a calorie deficit. In the article, ‘Creating a Weight Reduction Plan for Dogs‘ by Krista Williams, there is a great general guideline on calorie requirements based on weight ranges. Though this guideline does not replace the informed direction of a veterinarian, it is a good means to get a rough idea of your dog’s calorie requirements.
|Ideal weight (lbs)||Calories (kcal) needed at 100% RER per day||Ideal weight (lbs)||Calories (kcal) needed at 100% RER per day|
Source: ‘Creating a Weight Reduction Plan for Dogs‘ by Krista Williams
When you are starting your dog on a new diet, you want to give them about a week to transition. This works to help minimise digestive issues that they may face and is a good way to mix the new diet with the old diet. You shouldn’t work to drastically change your dog’s diet at once. This could lead to resistance to the new diet and can even lead to complete failure when it comes to adapting to the new diet.
You should start feeding them 1/4 of the new diet mixed with 3/4 of the old diet for about two days. After that, you can switch to 1/2 and 1/2 for two more days, until you reach 3/4 new food to 1/4 old food in the last two days. This is the best way to go about creating a workable meal plan to help facilitate effective weight loss.
Most dogs will take anywhere between six to eight months to attain ideal weight. If you notice that the process is taking longer, then there is a certain need for reconsideration and change. A healthy amount of weight loss is about one to five pounds per month, based on the size of your dog. While some dogs may shed their weight much faster, others take a long time and this very much depends on the breed and size of your diet coupled with what you feed them.
Canned Diet Food for Overweight Dogs
Canned diet food can be a great way to help you take control of your dog’s diet. They work to provide a calorie deficit and often contain a higher percentage of protein mixed with high-fibre food to provide a great weight loss meal.
That being the case, canned diet food simply doesn’t work as well or should ever replace a veterinarian recommended diet. This is why it is important that you discuss weight loss with your vet even before you consider switching to canned diet food. This would enable your vet to give you good direction on whether you should rely on canned diet food and will help you get better guidance on how you should go about approaching weight loss for your dog.
There are plenty of canned diet foods and diet food options for dogs in the market. Not all these options are effective and not all weight-loss strategies work for every dog. While some canned diet food controls the protein and carbohydrate content, some work to promote metabolism which leads to weight loss. With so many options available in the market, it is best that you consult your vet who would be able to advise you on the best brand and strategy to adopt to help facilitate healthy and safe weight loss.
Excessive weight can be as troublesome for your dog as it can be for you. Though dogs are less worried about their appearance than us humans, the health complications that excessive weight brings to the table are very real problems. After all, you are looking to safeguard your loving pooch’s health and will for certain do everything that is required to enable them to live healthier and longer lives.
It is completely up to you how you go about managing your dog’s weight problem. You are in complete control of what they eat and it is up to you to place them on a reliable diet that will lead to more effective weight loss.
As mentioned repeatedly within this article, please consult your veterinarian to attain the advice and guidance that is necessary before your start your dog’s weight loss journey. Do not take the information that we provided herewith as definitive guidance on how to tackle weight loss for your dog. Take this information and combine it with the professional advice of an experienced veterinarian and you should be well on your way to combating the issue of excess weight.
We hope you found this article useful and that reading this word to word has helped you better tackle your dog’s weight problem. Remember, your dog’s health is completely in your hands. If they are overweight it is you to blame, hence it is up to you to do what is necessary to bring them back to a healthy weight and leave those health complications at bay.