If you put on a few pounds, your dog won’t stop loving you unconditionally. They won’t even nag you about losing the weight! However, if you are the one noticing your dog has grown quite round around the middle, you do need to step in so your obese dog can lead their healthiest life. Obesity in dogs can lead to serious health problems such as diabetes, arthritis, hip dysplasia, and heart issues. It is best to help them lose the weight gradually by using a number of approaches all at once.
The first thing you can do with your obese dog is to get active with them. Regular exercise can come in the form of walks around your neighborhood, playing fetch, or tug of war. If your busy schedule does not allow for you to walk your dog consistently, look into finding a neighborhood teenager or dog-walking service who can take your dog out while you are unavailable. Then, on the weekends, you and your dog can go on more extended treks exploring local parks or hiking trails.
Try to be with your dog as much as possible during their active periods. Avoid thinking that by simply putting them outside they are getting exercise. They may very well be just as sedentary outside as they are inside if you let them out into your backyard and then don’t engage with them.
If your dog is not used to being active, build up to it slowly. Spend some time warming up before you go outside by stretching or performing simple motions like sitting, begging, or slowly walking in a circle. Take shorter, more frequent walks instead of longer ones at first. Also, you can look for opportunities to interact actively with your obese dog in other areas besides playtime or when you go out for walks. For instance, you can even make eating active with kibble-dispensing puzzle toys or you can incorporate basic obedience training into their mealtimes.
Speaking of meals, one thing many owners of obese dogs do not do is measure their dog’s food. Eyeballing the size of your dog’s meals can easily lead to overfeeding. Take the normal portion you give to your dog at mealtime and place it in a measuring cup. Once you understand the baseline portion you have been giving your dog, you can subtract calories from your dog’s diet much more precisely. Speak to your veterinarian about reducing your dog’s portions at mealtimes as well as suggestions for specific dog food for weight control for your obese dog.
Snacking can be an issue for overweight or obese dogs. Though it may be hard to resist your dog acting cute and coy around the dinner table, too many table scraps can lead to health issues like diabetes, heart problems, or arthritis. Especially lead them away from high-fat options, though a bit of chicken or steak on occasion will not hurt their weight loss goals too much. If your dog has a habit of begging for table scraps, retrain them by substituting the less healthy options with a dog treat that is high in protein and low in fat. Give it to your dog at the same time they would normally get the table food.
Getting your obese dog fit and trim is not an overnight process. Be patient yet determined with their diet and exercise. One nice bonus is that as your dog gets healthier and is able to walk further and longer than before, you might notice yourself getting a bit healthier, too!
Learn more about your dog’s diet in “The 10 Best Human Foods for Dogs” .