How can you manage your dog’s weight? Just like people, there is a weight index for dogs. Being over or under the average weight for your pet’s breed can be disastrous for their health. When we talk about weight, the assumption is that the discussion is about overweight and obesity. However, some dogs can be UNDER the suggested weight range.
This most often occurs with dogs rescued from neglectful situations, but certain diseases can also cause the issue. Some breeds are highly active and burn more calories than their current dog food provides. High-calorie dog food and working with your vet can help your pup to gain weight. Obesity is a much more common problem in dogs. There are steps an owner can take to get their dog to a healthy weight.
4 Ways To Get Your Dog’s Weight Under Control
Obesity in dogs is often caused by a lack of exercise and overfeeding. Some breeds are prone to obesity or gain weight easier, especially small breeds. Four steps to help get your pup’s weight down include:
1. Finding the Right Dog Food
Brand and type of dog food you’re feeding your dog is a big contributing factor in their health and will help you to manage your dog’s weight. With so many different kinds of kibble on the market, it can be overwhelming choosing the best one. Dr. Donna Spector, vet and diet specialist, recommends looking for foods that are high in protein and low in fat.
According to CyberPet, a good weight loss dog food should have lower calories than the average per cup. The average dry dog food has about 400 kcalories per cup, so look for something closer to the 300 kcalories range.
Furthermore, giving a dog too many treats also leads to obesity. It’s important to limit how many treats your dog eats, but often overlooked step in keeping a dog at their target weight.
2. More Exercise
Aside from overfeeding and hereditary issues, a sedentary lifestyle contributes to dog obesity. Dogs need daily exercise to keep them mentally and physically healthy. The amount of exercise depends on the breed. Larger breeds need more frequent exercise throughout the day than smaller dogs. Exercise can increase through longer play times or activities, such as hiking. It can be difficult for dog owners who work full-time to find the time to exercise their dog. However, apps to find dog walkers and the increasing popularity of doggie daycares can make it more feasible.
3. Avoid Feeding Table Scraps
Every dog owner knows the struggle of ignoring a dog begging for table scraps. But feeding your dog human food is a huge contributor to their weight problem and will ruin your other efforts to manage your dog’s weight.
The digestion system in dogs isn’t made for breaking down fats and other substances found in people food. Regularly sneaking your dog table scraps can also cause them to turn up their nose at dog food. In addition, feeding a dog human food can be hazardous to their health. Many human foods, such as grapes and raisins, are toxic to dogs. That’s not to say all human foods are bad. Most vegetables are not only safe but also healthy for dogs.
4. Portion Control
One of the best ways to get your dog’s weight under control is by limiting how much food they eat. The recommended serving for dogs depends greatly on their size and age. Puppies need more food than adult dogs and large breeds can require up to 3 cups per day. If your dog is overweight, talk to your vet about cutting their food intake in half. Vegetables such as green beans and carrots can be substituted. Green beans are great for dogs (and people) because they are full of fiber, which tricks the stomach into feeling full, preventing overeating.
Weight Control Has Many Benefits
Obese dogs are more likely to develop health problems, including arthritis. In general, obesity can shorten the lifespan of an already short life expectancy for dogs. Being overweight or underweight can affect a dog’s mood, behavior, and quality of life.
Leo Wilson graduated from a university major in animal health and behavior. He had over a decade of experience working in the pet industry and has contributed many dogs and pet-related articles to several websites before he decided to start sharing his knowledge on his own blog. And when he is not busy working, he and his wonderful wife love spending time at home with their 3 dogs and 2 cats.