9 ways to help your dog lose weight
Obesity is a major problem for dogs in the UK and it can have long-term consequences for our canine companions.
We all want to keep our dogs happy and sometimes it’s all too easy to over indulge them.
Obese pets are more likely to suffer from:
- breathing difficulties,
- heart problems
If your four legged friend has piled on a few pounds, follow our expert advice to help your dog lose weight and consult your local vet for more advice. It is essential that your dog's diet is maintained and adapted over time, reflecting the health changes they will experience with age.
1. Increase the frequency of your dog’s walks
Unfortunately, obesity is a vicious circle because once a pet is overweight, their physical activity is also likely to drop, making it harder to lose weight. For encouragement try taking a ball or a Frisbee on the walk to inject some fun and play time. It can work wonders!
2. Use an age-appropriate diet
Just like us, a dog’s nutritional requirements and appetite varies as they go through life so make sure you are providing a balanced diet, which is appropriate to their life stage with the right mix of nutrients and follow the recommended daily amounts.
Visit the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association (PFMA) for advice.
3. Measure their food
Use scales to weigh food to the amount recommended by the food manufacturer or your vet. Remember guidelines are just that and you may need to adapt the amount you feed depending on the individual needs of your dog.
4. Get a diet and exercise plan for your dog
Local veterinary practices and pet shops will often offer free weight management consultations where there is plenty of advice on hand so take action.
5. Invest in calorie controlled food
There is a great variety of calorie controlled food available for overweight and obese dogs so do your homework.
Check out your vet, country store or pet shop and ask for their advice.
6. Keep track of your pet's weight loss progress
Use this free downloadable Dog Size-O-Meter from PFMA at least once every two weeks which will enable you to keep a close eye on your pet’s weight loss progress. Print it out and keep it close to hand.
7. Don't overfeed your dog during special occasions
It’s all too easy for dogs to over indulge at Christmas and other holiday times so make sure you’re not overfeeding your furry friend and stick to a regular feeding routine.
8. Keep human food and any doggy treats out of reach
Try to avoid giving tit bits. Your dogs may love these scrumptious treats but even a few can slow weight loss. Even for dogs of a healthy weight, treats and snacks should not form more than 10% of their whole diet’s calorie content.
9. Keep a food diary for your dog
Not only is it a fabulous way to monitor their diet and maintain good weight loss, you can show it to your vet to ensure your pet is making good progress.