How to Put Your Dog on a Weightloss Diet

When your dog is allowed to eat too much and exercises too little, they may begin to gain weight. This is incredibly unhealthy for them, and as a result, you must put them on a weight loss diet plan as soon as possible. Luckily for you, this process is easy and painless, as long as you are willing to take steps that change you and your dog’s lifestyle.

Is My Dog Overweight?

Before deciding to go on a diet, however, it is first important to determine whether your pup is actually overweight. There are several, easy to check factors that can indicate this.

The easiest one to check is to feel your pups ribs and spine. If they are difficult to feel, this is a telltale sign your pup needs to lose some weight.

Another way to tell is to to look at your pup from the top down. Behind their ribs, there will be a noticeable curve behind their ribs. If the area behind the ribs juts out, this means your pup is overweight. To make sure even more, look at your pup from the side. If their stomach area is sagging and drooping, alongside your observations from the top, it is a definite sign that your pup must lose some weight.

Methods For Dieting

Now that you’ve confirmed that your pup indeed needs to go on a diet, you may be wondering where to start. 

The easiest change to begin your pups diet changes with is reducing the amount of food they get with each serving. Even if the food your pup is eating every day is considered “healthy,” overeating can still lead to excessive weight gain. In order to ensure you give your pup a consistent amount of food each serving, use a measuring cup, and not a random cup you would find in your cabinet. Over time, this will make all the difference in your pups health and weight. 

In addition to this, you should monitor the amount of snacks you give your pup in between mealtime. While one tiny biscuit may not seem like much, not paying attention to how many are given out can make the number stack up. If your pup is too cute to ignore, consider a healthier alternative to basic dog treats. Carrots and green beans are fantastic options that are healthy for your pup and low in calories.

Another method that may seem a bit counter-intuitive is to feed your pup more often. Many veterinarians say that many smaller meals throughout the day are healthier than larger meals , due to it keeping the pup’s blood sugar levels consistent, and therefore having them retain less calories.

Above all, sometimes it may be a smart idea to start fresh with the food you are giving your pup. However, ensure you get the advice of a professional vet before choosing your food. Many dog food brands that advertise themselves as “low calorie” or “diet” often aren’t as healthy for your pup as advertised. What they often do is replace the protein in the food with carbohydrates, lowering the calorie amount. The downside to this is a food that isn’t very filling or palatable, making your pup hungry much more often. Ironically, this can make dogs gain even more weight than before the diet.  By consulting with a professional vet, you can ensure that your pup gets the best food for their diet.

As a final, smaller piece of advice coming from experience, don’t let your pup into the kitchen when it is dieting. While this may seem like minor advice, you will end up surprised on how much less scraps they eat, and therefore how much weight they lose.

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Lovelia Horn

I’m a certified crazy dog mom, a physical therapist (for hoomans), writer, animal rescuer, and foster home provider. Together with my hubby Ryan, I’ve fostered and helped look for forever homes for over a hundred shelter dogs in the Southern Illinois area. I mostly work with Puppy Rescue 911, Inc., a certified animal rescue organization based out of Chester, IL (home of Popeye!)

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