12 Tips for Managing your Dog's Weight and Preventing Obesity
By Judith Aleguen | Updated on Mar 8, 2023
However cute a chubby and fluffy dog looks, many dog owners fail to recognize that obesity is a growing cause for alarm, and much more have difficulty keeping their canine companion's weight under control.
You don't have to worry because this article has compiled 15 strategies for keeping your dog at a healthy weight and warding off obesity.
Always measure your dog's food.
If you want to keep your dog to avoid obesity, measuring and recording their food consumption is perhaps one of the easiest things to do. You can do this by simply using a measuring cup to determine the proper amount of dog food to feed.
A food scale is another viable option if you don't have a measuring cup handy. Measuring their food helps you track your dog's weight and ensures they receive the right amount.
A food calendar or a smartphone app can be used to track how much dog food your pet consumes on a daily basis. With this information, you can spot trends, make changes whenever necessary, and prevent any other health issues in the long run.
Feed your dog a high-quality diet.
A high-quality diet is important for your dog’s overall health. Always ensure they get all the nutrients needed to stay healthy and happy for every meal. Their diet should contain protein, carbs, fats, and fiber.
If your dog is already heavier than average, consider a low-calorie diet to safely shed some of its extra pounds. However, even if it is a low-calorie diet, you must ensure your dog receives all the nutrients needed to function.
When buying food from the store, look for dog food that is made with whole organic ingredients and doesn't have any fillers or artificial preservatives that could potentially harm your fur babies. When cooking at home, check what human food is acceptable for dogs and which ones to avoid.
Do not give your dog table scraps.
Feeding your dog with human food, especially table scraps, is a big no for dogs. These scraps are unhealthy and often high in fat, sugar, and salt. Feeding your dog with table scraps may contribute to your dog’s obesity and serious health problems, especially if consumed in large quantities.
To treat your dogs, give them healthy foods, like apple or carrot slices or bite-sized pieces of boiled chicken or lean beef.
Give your dog enough and regular exercise.
Regular exercise is crucial in managing your dog’s weight. It improves your dog’s general health and well-being and can also aid in weight loss if your dog seems heavier than normal. Exercise is also a good bonding moment between you and your canine friend.
Remember that dogs of various sizes, ages, and breeds have different exercise requirements. Maintaining a daily exercise routine of at least 30 minutes and moderate intensity is recommended for moderately active dogs. An hour of exercise is necessary for working dogs that are very active.
Exercising your dog can include:
- and swimming.
Whether your dog is overweight or not, it is always wise to begin exercising slowly and gradually increasing its intensity and duration over time. Before starting an exercise regimen, you should talk to your vet if your dog has any preexisting conditions.
Avoid leaving food out all the time for your dog to graze on.
Leaving your dog's food out for it to graze on all the time is a surefire road to making him overweight since they will surely overeat if food is at any moment. You should train your dog to follow a regular feeding schedule.
They must be fed regularly, and the leftovers must be removed immediately, so your dog will know when mealtime is and isn't. Overweight dogs may benefit from eating several smaller meals throughout the day rather than two or three large ones.
Limit the treats.
Although treats are a fantastic tool for rewarding and training your dog, it's easy to go overboard. Giving them treats all the time makes it challenging to lose some of their weight. To keep your dog healthy, pick snacks that are minimal calories but satisfy him.
Gradually reduce food intake when your dog shows signs of obesity.
If your dog is overweight, veterinarians often suggest helping them lose weight healthily and permanently by reducing the amount of food you give them daily. It must be gradual because rapid weight loss may harm your dogs by causing them to lose muscles instead of fats, and it can also cause them to become malnourished if you suddenly alter their diet.
Talk to your vet about creating a weight-loss strategy and determining how much food your dog needs. Remember that reducing food intake should accompany other weight loss techniques, such as increasing physical activity.
Talk to your vet about creating an effective weight-loss strategy.
No one better to asses your dog's general health and determine whether or not weight gain is caused by any underlying medical conditions or not than your vet. They can help you create a safe, personalized, and effective weight loss plan for your dog.
Give your dog interactive feeders and puzzle toys to increase mental stimulation.
A crucial part of managing your dog's weight and avoiding obesity is providing it with mental stimulation through interactive feeders and puzzle toys. These puzzle toys can take many forms and shapes, such as those that require the dog to find hidden prizes, pair up objects, or solve a puzzle in exchange for treats.
In addition, this interactive feeder or puzzle toy can keep your dog from becoming bored while eating, reducing the likelihood of consuming excessive amounts of food. Not to mention that it will also improve the dog's mealtime by making it more challenging and enjoyable.
Monitor your dog's weight regularly.
This will allow you to monitor their progress as soon as early signs of obesity are visible. Also, it helps you monitor their weight loss progress and ensure they lose weight at a safe and steady rate and not abruptly.
Remember that your dog's weight can shift for several reasons, including the following:
- muscle mass
- body composition
- and even stress.
Make sure that your dog's weight gain is not from a severe medical condition.
If your dog has a medical condition that makes weight loss challenging, you must devise a strategy to treat both the medical condition and the dog's excess weight with your vet’s help.
Some diseases that make it hard for dogs to lose weight may include:
- Cushing's disease
Your veterinarian may recommend the following:
- a special diet
- reducing the amount of food they eat
- reducing or increasing their physical activity
- and adding nutritional supplements.
Remember that weight loss in dogs with medical conditions may be more gradual than in others, so persistence and understanding are key.
Be consistent with your dog's diet and exercise routine.
Maintaining a healthy weight for your dog over time requires a consistent feeding and exercise schedule. Consistency means:
- making a regular feeding schedule
- providing appropriately sized meals
- encouraging regular physical activity
- and adhering to it.
Having a dog is a huge commitment that requires you to always be on guard.
In conclusion, the road to weight management and the avoidance of canine obesity takes patience, effort, and consistency on your part. Your dog's life expectancy can increase significantly if you take these steps!