What is the Healthiest Way for Your Dog to Lose Weight?

7 minute read
Post Thumbnail
By LITTLE PUPPY PAWS | May 18, 2023
Share on

Overweight dogs can experience a range of health problems that can significantly impact their quality of life. Obesity can increase the risk of conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, and heart disease, and can also put additional strain on joints, leading to pain and mobility issues. 

The healthiest way for a dog to lose weight is through a combination of proper nutrition and exercise. One important step is to reduce the number of calories your dog consumes. This can be achieved by feeding them smaller portions of high-quality, nutritious food that is low in calories and fat. Consider feeding your dog several smaller meals throughout the day rather than one or two large meals, which can help regulate their appetite.

Why is Important for Your Dog to Maintain a Healthy Weight?

Your dog’s chance of getting significant medical issues can increase by as little as five pounds over the optimal body weight. Sadly, when a dog is overweight or obese, the question of when and how serious a condition will manifest in your dog due to the excess weight is much more important than whether it will. Some of the common disorders associated with excess weight include:

  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Heart Disease
  • Osteoarthritis or Arthritis
  • Increased Frequency of Joint Injuries
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Cancer

Dogs who are overweight or obese typically live shorter lifetimes than their more physically fit, normal-weight peers. Overweight dogs generally are less active and playful and engage in less physical interaction with their families. Because they tend to spend more time lying around, it is simpler to ignore early disease symptoms because we may think their idle state is just part of their typical sloth. Substantial evidence demonstrates that dogs with a healthy weight live noticeably longer than dogs with an unhealthy weight.

How Should I Begin a Weight Loss Program for My Dog?

Losing weight should be easy: fewer calories consumed plus more calories burned. Unfortunately, it takes a lot of work.

Without the help of your dog’s veterinary healthcare professionals, you should never put your dog on a diet. Your dog’s extra weight could be brought on by or contributed to by an underlying medical problem. Hyperadrenocorticism or Cushing’s disease and hypothyroidism are prevalent disorders linked to weight gain.

Before starting a diet, it is essential to rule out these illnesses and other potential contributors to your dog’s weight issue. So many canines start a diet and fail to lose weight because the sickness, not the diet, was the issue. Your veterinarian will conduct a physical check and suggest blood testing to ensure your pet can lose weight.

How Can I Get My Dog to Lose More Weight Through Exercise?

The first step in aiding your dog’s weight loss is lengthening and intensifying your daily walks. Few dogs will naturally walk at a speed that causes the higher heart rates necessary for weight loss and sustained aerobic activity. According to observations of people walking their dogs, the typical speed is a saunter, taking 20 to 25 minutes each mile (12 to 15 minutes per kilometer).

On average, every one to two minutes, they halt to give their dog a chance to mark territory or smell anything fascinating. Walking for pleasure and walking to lose weight are different things. The ideal daily walk should last for 30 minutes. Within a few minutes of walking like this, you should slightly perspire. See the handout “Walking Your Dog for Weight Loss” for more information on creating a healthy walking schedule for your dog.

Some additional simple tips for getting your dog to exercise more are:

  • Change the dog’s food bowl frequently, either upstairs or downstairs, so the dog must always walk to reach it. Because they are intelligent, overweight dogs will follow the food bowl up the steps if it moves.
  • Feed your dog in a treat ball or puzzle feeder to slow the intake and make your dog feel fuller.
  • Encourage fetch or chase activities using toys, balls, laser pointers, squeaky toys, or sticks. At least twice every day, try to play with your dog for ten to fifteen minutes. Some toys have random movements and noises that your dog can find entertaining. Variety is vital for many dogs since what is thrilling or fascinating today could be uninteresting tomorrow.

What to Do When Your Dog Nags You for Food?

It is frequently simpler to give in to the dog that demands food at four in the morning or the dog that keeps you company while you eat or watch TV until you cave. These dogs have done an excellent job of molding humans and know how to push the right buttons to obtain what they want. Here are some pointers for dealing with your puppy’s pleading:

  • Do not use a self-feeder. While this seems obvious, auto-feeders are nothing more than unlimited candy machines to a fat dog.
  • If you use an automatic feeder, use one that opens with a timer. You can measure the proper amount and divide it into daily meals.
  • Pet your dog or play with him when he begs for food. Many dogs substitute food for affection, so flip the equation, and you may find that playtime displaces mealtime.
  • Go for a walk with your dog when he begs. The distraction and interaction may be enough to make him forget his desire for food.
  • Feed small meals frequently – especially give a last feeding for those dogs that like to wake you up in the wee hours begging for more goodies – divide the total volume or calories into four to six smaller meals – whatever you do, do not feed extra food.
  • Add a few kibbles to the bowl when the bowl is empty, and your dog pleads. A few means only a few – not a handful. For this purpose, keep a few kibbles separate from your dog’s measured daily ratio.
  • If more than one person feeds your dog, you should measure the total daily food into a separate container, such as a covered food storage container. Then, everybody knows how much the dog has been fed and how much is left for the day. If you enjoy giving treats to your dog, feed her several kibbles from the container rather than giving her high-calorie dog biscuits.
  • Give a couple of pieces of vegetables, such as baby carrots, frozen sliced carrots, broccoli, green beans, celery, or asparagus. Most dogs love crunchy treats, so make it a healthy, low-calorie choice. Do not give meat treats or carbohydrate treats such as bread or pasta. Even small amounts of these can lead to weight gain in dogs prone to obesity.
  • Offer fresh water instead of food. If your dog is eyeing the empty food bowl, a drink of cold, fresh water may satisfy the craving.

How Long Should Your Dog Be on a Diet?

The majority of canines reach their ideal weight in six to eight months. Something needs to be changed if the process is taking longer than this. Depending on your dog’s size and condition, a healthy weight loss is one to five pounds per month. Some dogs might need to move more slowly, but others might lose weight quickly.

For most dogs, the key to weight loss is a loving, committed, and caring household. Dogs cannot comprehend the harm their excess weight does to them. Our responsibility as good stewards is to keep them safe and avoid unintentionally causing their early demise or the onset of crippling diseases. Your dog can safely and successfully achieve a healthy body weight and condition with the aid of you and your veterinarian’s healthcare team.

Are There Supplements You Can Provide?

Your dog’s general health and well-being depend on maintaining a healthy weight. Yet, occasionally a dog’s weight loss cannot be achieved by food and activity alone. A dog weight loss supplement may be helpful in these circumstances. While selecting a supplement for weight loss in dogs, keep the following things in mind:

  1. Contact your veterinarian: It’s vital to seek advice from your veterinarian before giving your dog any weight-loss supplements. They can assist you in deciding whether a supplement is required and which supplement would benefit your dog the best.
  2. Seek for Natural Ingredients: Go for a dietary supplement that includes natural components, including vitamins, minerals, and herbs. Avoid taking supplements that have artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.
  3. Choose a Reputable Brand: Search for a dietary supplement from a reputable company. Choose a supplement that has worked for other dogs by researching and reading reviews from other dog owners.
  4. Take Into Account Your Dog’s Unique Needs: Certain weight loss pills are made for dogs with particular health conditions, like joint or digestive difficulties. While selecting a supplement, bear in mind your dog’s specific requirements.
  5. When giving your dog a weight-loss pill, following the dose recommendations carefully is crucial. Unfavorable effects may result from providing your dog with too much of a supplement.
  6. Mix with Exercise and Diet: A weight reduction supplement should be used with an active exercise and diet regimen. A supplement is a supplement to nutrition and exercise, not a replacement.

L-carnitine, omega-3 fatty acids, and green tea extract are typical canine weight-loss supplements. These vitamins can help increase energy, speed up metabolism, and enhance general health. But it’s crucial to remember that supplements shouldn’t be utilized in place of a healthy diet and regular exercise because they don’t work like a charm.

Can Making Homemade Dog-Food Help?

Choosing the proper components for homemade weight-loss dog food is crucial since you want to ensure your dog receives all the nutrients required to maintain his health and strength. Consult your dog’s veterinarian before deciding on the substances to use.

Start With the Healthiest Protein You Can Find

Lean animal proteins, such as skinless chicken or turkey, eggs, and low-fat dairy foods like cottage cheese and fish, should comprise around half of your dog’s diet. Fish can be either fresh or canned, but if you’re feeding canned fish, ensure it doesn’t have any extra oil added because this can significantly boost the calorie content. Protein can be consumed either cooked or raw, but if you choose to cook it, avoid using oils because they add calories. To increase the likelihood that your dog will get all the nutrients he needs and minimize palate boredom, try mixing up the protein so that he consumes two to three different types each week.

Vary Your Other Ingredients

Non-starchy veggies and healthy grains can help dogs lose weight, but some dogs have sensitivities to grains, so start with small amounts and only increase if you see no adverse side effects. Combine the protein with pureed, healthful vegetables like pumpkin, spinach, kale, and other leafy greens. They include a lot of fiber, making your dog feel full without consuming many calories and making them a tremendous weight-loss compromise. All ingredients can be steamed, baked, or boiled to reduce the number of calories they contain.

Other Benefits

There are several advantages to a low-calorie, low-fat homemade diet. Making your dog food allows you to ensure that it doesn’t include any additives or preservatives. You can make your diet free of dairy and high-fat foods like beef, soy, wheat, and maize. These substances can cause allergies and various issues in dogs, in addition to being heavy in calories and sugars, which means they contribute to weight gain.

Dogs are given all the nutrients they require for optimal health in commercial meals. Meanwhile, homemade diets risk being low in some nutrients, such as vital fatty acids, zinc, vitamins D and E, and copper. Speaking with your vet and ensuring you feed a range of the highest-quality foods are the only ways to ensure your pet is getting what he needs.