In 2018, an estimated 56% of dogs in the United States were overweight or obese.
That’s right; dogs have just as much an issue with weight gain as humans do.
By planning a doggie diet for your family’s best friend, you can help your overweight dog get healthy again!
Here are 10 tips to help you put an end to your dog’s obesity.
With the right doggie diet, your dog will turn into their tail-wagging self again!
Every breed has different needs. To create a health plan for your overweight dog, you need to determine their specific needs, first.
Use this directory to pinpoint your dog’s breed standards. This guide can help you determine your dog’s ideal weight.
If your dog’s weight spikes beyond that weight range, speak with your vet. They can assess your dog’s health and needs.
Your dog’s current age plays a part in determining their ideal weight, too.
Along with your vet, you can both create a weight-loss plan that considers their body condition, diet, and accurate weight.
Once you know the number your dog should weigh in at, you can establish a goal to help them conquer pet obesity.
According to this report, an obese dog might also experience:
- Bladder/urinary tract disease
- Liver disease
- Low thyroid hormone production
- Torn knee ligaments
- Diseased spinal discs
- Chronic kidney disease
- Heart failure
- High blood pressure
Helping your dog dodge obesity can also ensure they avoid many debilitating health conditions.
Like humans, your dog needs to get out and be active to stay healthy. As part of your dog’s weight-loss plan, make sure they’re exercising every day.
Increasing their physical activity will help them burn off those doggie treats (and their extra energy, too).
Don’t worry; you don’t have to go big with a long hike. Instead, plan for a regular walk. You can even find a dog park where they can run off-leash and play.
Different breeds have different exercise needs.
Don’t forget to speak with your vet for a little guidance about breed-specific recommendations.
There’s a difference between begging for a snack and actual hunger.
In some cases, begging is just your dog’s way of asking for attention. Responding with a snack will just encourage them to beg again later.
Trust your instincts. If they just ate, chances are they’re begging.
A high-protein and fiber diet will help manage their hunger.
The right food can keep your dog full and satisfied (and begging less often).
Many people respond to a begging, overweight dog with scraps or treats. Remember, treats are just that: a treat.
Try to keep the table scraps to a minimum. Otherwise, your dog will expect one come dinner time.
If you’re using treats to help them train, limit the amount.
There are also low-fat, low-cal options to replace otherwise fattening treats.
We are what we eat. That goes for your pet, too! Improving your dog’s food and nutrition can transform them from an overweight dog into a lean, loving pooch.
Remember, you need to customize this nutrition plan with your dog’s specific needs.
When shopping for your pet, try to find a brand that appeals to your dog’s breed. There are also foods specifically for weight management, illnesses, and dietary sensitivities.
If you’re unsure about which foods are the best bet for your pooch, consult your vet.
They can help steer you (and your dog) in the right direction the next time you set out to shop.
If you have an overweight dog, you need to make sure they’re losing fat but not muscle mass. We all need protein. Special foods with more dietary protein can preserve your dog’s muscle tissue while they’re trying to lose weight.
SEE ALSO: 5 Best Fresh Dog Food Delivery Services
Finding the right food is only the first step. Make sure the weight-loss dog food you choose also provides your overweight dog with the nutrients they need.
This includes fatty acids, minerals, and vitamins to ensure your dog is eating healthy.
You can also add natural supplements to their diet, including L-carnitine or fish oil.
Once you know your dog’s goal weight and new foods, determine how much they should eat each day.
Weigh out each portion to get an accurate read on how many calories your dog consumes daily. Using the same bowl can help you keep track as well.
An abrupt change can upset your dog’s stomach. Instead of swapping their diet in a single day, pace it out. Transition how much they’re eating over a seven-day period.
You can also slowly start adding the new dog food to their bowl.
Phase out the old food until they’re only eating the new food by the end of the week.
Once you start adjusting your dog’s diet, keep track of everything.
During the weeks after their diet changes, track how much they’re eating and when they’re eating. Monitoring your overweight dog’s diet can help you recognize when you need to make changes.
If you notice any major changes, speak with your vet. They can help you determine how to adjust your dog’s diet as needed.
Once we as humans lose weight, we usually abandon the diet.
Once your overweight dog starts shedding those pounds, help them stick to it. The hard part is transitioning to a new diet. Even after your dog loses weight, maintain their new diet to help them maintain their weight, too.
With these 10 tips, you can save your overweight dog from stressful health concerns. Make sure to take time over the next seven days to help your dog adjust to their new doggie diet.
Run over to the Breeds & Health section of our pet blog for more tips for helping your overweight dog.
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A big-dog lover, successful marketing executive, and website developer, Brian founded Canine Weekly in 2016. Brian lives just outside of Seattle with his wife and child. Brian grew up with labs and the family is eager to get another Labrador once their newborn is a little older. Brian is the former owner of Canine Weekly.