Plump puppies look cute, but lean is better for their health.You must find it weird that obesity is common in dogs, just like humans. Yet, it is one of the most common preventable diseases in dogs.
According to a survey released by the Association For Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) in March 2018,” 56% of the nation’s dogs are overweight.”
Some Important Dog Obesity facts
Various evidence suggests that middle-aged dogs, especially those aged 5-10 years, are prone to obesity.
Dog breeds prone to obesity are Golden Retriever, Pug, Cocker Spaniel, Border Terrier, Yorkshire, Boxer, Bulldog, Dachshund, English Mastiff, etc.
According to the Purina Lifespan Study, obesity takes almost two years off a dog’s life.
Pugs topped the list of overweight breeds, with 64% diagnosed as obese.
Your dog probably won’t care about being overweight. It is okay as long as it can chase a squirrel or cat and jump on your bed or sofa. But what if your dog has arthritis? Extra weight will only increase its pain and suffering.
And do you know what’s worse?
Obesity can lead to various health conditions, including:
- Heart diseases
- Lung disorders
- Immune dysfunction
- High blood pressure
- Cancerous tumors
- Urinary bladder stones
So if you want to make your dog’s life better, you need to take some steps to maintain its weight. But first, we need to know are you sure that your dog is obese? If you don’t know how to find out, here are some signs and symptoms to know whether your dog is obese or overweight.
Table of Contents
Symptoms of Obesity in Dogs
If you’re wondering how to tell if your dog is obese or not, look out for these symptoms:
- Weight gain
- Difficulty breathing
- No or nearly visible waistline
- Excess body fat
- No palpable ribcage
- Distended abdomen
- Lack of grooming
- Lack of mobility
Causes of Obesity in Dogs
Our furry friends can become overweight or obese despite our best intentions. The obvious ones are excessive food intake and lack of exercise. Some other factors that can be responsible for obesity in your four-legged friends are:
- Psychological issues
- Lifestyle & family factors
- Hormone imbalances
8 Tips To Help Your Dog Lose Weight
Obesity in dogs is a common issue, but unfortunately, most dog owners don’t pay attention until the situation gets out of their hands, and they need to consult with their vets for proper treatment. You can avoid all such hassle by feeding a well-balanced diet to your dog and incorporating exercise into its daily routine.
If you feel like your dog is transforming into a couch potato or Bologna sausage, you must change your dog’s diet and lifestyle. Weight loss can be pretty challenging for dogs, primarily since they depend on us to help them manage it.
Here are some crucial tips you must follow to help your dog to lose weight:
Improve your relationship with food.
Humans like to eat pizzas, burgers, and other canned food, due to which the obesity in humans has reached epidemic proportions. As the human relationship with food is complicated, how can we expect a more straightforward dog-food relationship? Most pet owners can’t control themselves from serving dogs whatever they’re eating, including cookies, muffins, chocolates, pizza, and other leftovers. So, we’re sure that if you improve your relationship with your food and only eat healthy food, it can surely help your dog lose weight.
Follow food label feeding instructions.
It is often tempting to feed your dog more than the measly portion recommended on the dog food bag. We can’t stop wondering how this amount of food would make your dog feel full. But the truth is the recommended amount of food on the bag is enough to make your dog fuller, and feeding more than it can increase the risk of obesity in your dog.
It would also help to remember that the food amount mentioned on food bags is for each day, not per portion. So if your dog eats four times a day, ensure to split that amount of food into four equal meals and serve each portion at a specific time.
You can also ask the vet for the right amount of food for your dog to avoid any food discomfort due to overeating. Your vet can also share some healthy, well-balanced recipes to help your dog stay fit and healthy.
Avoid feeding large meals.
According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention study, “Feeding as few as ten extra tiny kibbles of food per day can increase your dog’s weight up to a pound per year.”
Don’t overfeed your dogs by serving them large meals. It can cause abdominal discomfort and bloating issues in your dog. Keep checking their calorie intake and split that amount into multiple meals. Some dogs need 4 to 6 meals per day to stay energetic. If you prefer home-cooked food, consult with your dog to know how much and how often to feed your dog.
Feeding small meals every 4-6 hours will keep your dog’s insulin levels stable, which reduces appetite spikes and keeps (your dog fuller throughout the day. And once your dog’s metabolism begins to work ap, owners have the habit of keeping the dog food bowl full all the time.
It can lure your dog into eating even when not necessary, increasing the risk of obesity in your dog. So make sure to feed smaller meals to your dog at the same time every day to keep it fit and active.
Encourage your dog to drink at feeding time.
Water is necessary for dogs to keep dehydration and issues related to dehydration at bay. Also, encouraging your dog to drink at feeding time will make them feel fuller and likely to eat less. However, don’t allow your dog to overeat, as water might expand the chewed food in your dog’s stomach, causing discomfort for your furry friend.
If your canine doesn’t drink water at feeding time, you can add some water to its food bowl or replace some of its dry kibbles with the wet food. The higher water content in wet food makes your dog feel full quicker and will help it to feel satisfied with less.
If you’re replacing your dog’s dry food with wet food, choose the food that comes with guidelines on mixing the food to maintain a healthy and well-balanced diet for your four-legged friend.
If you have got a tiny pup who is always fussy about its food, you can also add small pieces of meat stock to make the water more tempting.
Feed them a High fiber diet.
Feeding your dog with fiber-rich foods will not make it feel hungry for a more extended period. Also, a fibrous diet is necessary for your dogs to maintain their gastrointestinal system. Chomping on high fiber foods helps prevent your dogs from various health issues, including obesity, diabetes, colitis, and irritable bowel syndrome.
Go for high protein, low carbohydrate diets.
A protein-rich diet can help with weight loss in dogs. Protein in the diet can help with muscles, and low carbs can help with weight loss. However, make sure to consult with a veteran before adding protein to your dog’s diet.
Your vet can assist you in knowing the right amount of proteins you can feed to your dog. Also, seeking your vet’s assistance will help you find whether your dog has any pre-existing kidney and liver conditions.
It would be best if you were very careful as an excessive amount of protein can cause more harm to your dog’s liver and kidneys.
Add low-calorie nutritious treats to your dog food.
You can find various dog treats in the market. However, it would be best to choose treats carefully, as sugar can be dangerous for your dogs. Dog treats like biscuits and cookies can have too many calories in them, which can be harmful to your pets. Also, these treats will not be suitable for your dog if your dog is overweight. So, make sure to read the food label to find out about the calories and choose your product wisely.
We recommend you go for vegetable treats that you can easily find in your pantry or refrigerator. A few of the vegetable treats that you can choose for your dogs are:
- Apple (without a core)
- Frozen peas
These vegetables and fruits are not only high in fiber but are good in taste and contain natural sugar that is healthy for your pets. These treats are suitable for dogs’ teeth and also help manage a healthy weight.
Ensure to feed these treats in moderation to your dogs. No matter how healthy they are, anything in excess can be harmful to anyone. Also, if you’re serving a high volume of treats or high-calorie treats to train your pets, remember to reduce the portion of main meals accordingly to account for the extra calories.
Create a feeding routine for your dog
Did you know that eating food at a fixed routine can help your dog lose weight?
Feeding your canine at the same time every day will not disrupt its metabolic process, preventing your dog from various health risks and weight gain. The inconsistent feeding routine can mess with the internal body clock of your dog, leading to an increase in appetite with final results of weight gain.
Take them for regular exercise
As you know that working out can boost your mood, slims your waistline, and keeps you fit. Similarly, it can help your dogs to be their happiest and healthiest selves. Big or small, young or old – all dogs need physical activity to stay fit. Moreover, lack of exercise can make your dog feel bored, frustrated, or lethargic, manifesting destructive or aggressive behaviors. To avoid such a situation, don’t forget to take your dog for a walk twice a day for at least 15 minutes.
You can also find out some new ways to make exercises more fun for your dog. A few other activities that you can incorporate into your dog’s life include:
- Dock diving and more
Also, ensure to consult with a vet before adding any high-intensity physical activity to your dog’s lifestyle.
Find out about your dog’s pre-existing medical condition.
Are you the one who always stays within caloric boundaries and offers mindful meals to their dog, but still, your dog is struggling with obesity issues? If yes, it’s better to consult with your vet and find out why your dog is overweight. Your dog can gain weight due to some medical conditions, such as hypothyroidism and Cushing’s Syndrome (hyperadrenocorticism).
Cushing’s syndrome usually occurs in older dogs and can cause frequent urination, hair loss, and weakness.
The bottom line
As a responsible dog owner, you must know that overfeeding your dog can lead to various health issues. So, if you want to keep your dog free from health issues, make sure to feed them with a well-balanced and calorie-calculated diet.
Indulge them in various activities, like walking, jogging, swimming, and more, to keep them active and calm. And if you’re following the tips mentioned above to make your dog lose weight, you need to be very careful.
Monitor their weight regularly and if you observe sudden weight loss, consult with your vet immediately. Vet consultation is necessary as sudden weight loss can be a warning sign of a significant health issue.
Lastly, please don’t fall for your dog’s drooping eyes and overfeed them with their favorite food. You need to be strict with your diet if you want to be healthy.
If you still have any doubts about any of these dog weight loss tips, do let us know in the comment section!
FAQ: Dog Lose Weight
What Do I Give My Dog to Lose Weight?
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 and low-calorie choice. Do not give meat treats or carbohydrate treats such as bread or pasta.
How Long Can an Obese Dog Live?
New research with data provided by Banfield Pet Hospital found that the lifespan of overweight dogs was up to 2 1/2 years shorter, on average, than the lifespan of dogs with healthy body weight.
How Do You Treat an Obese Dog?
Weight loss food for dogs rich in dietary protein and fiber but low in fat is typically recommended since dietary protein stimulates metabolism and energy expenditure. Protein also helps provide a feeling of fullness, so your dog will not feel hungry again shortly after eating.
Can Being Overweight Cause Breathing Problems in Dogs?
Weight gain can cause various health issues in dogs, including heart disease and high blood pressure. It’s also linked to breathing problems. Moreover, overweight dogs have the risk of collapsing trachea and laryngeal paralysis. Untreated, these airway conditions could lead to a respiratory crisis which could be fatal if not treated.