Dog Diets: How to Help Your Dog Lose Weight
Dogs, like humans, aren’t immune to weight gain. In fact, it’s estimated that over 50 percent of dogs in the United States were overweight or obese in 2018. And, just like people, excess weight can lead to health problems such osteoarthritis, heart and respiratory disease and decreased life expectancy. That’s why dog diets are crucial.
If it’s not obvious your furry friend is in need of a dog diet, there are a few ways you can check on their health. The first is to put them on a scale. This can be done at home (if they’re cooperative) or by visiting your veterinarian’s office. Other ways to tell if your dog is overweight include both a visual and physical inspection:
- Feel for your dog’s backbone and ribs. If they are difficult to locate, then they are overweight.
- Look at your dog’s side profile. Their stomach should be raised, not saggy.
- Look at your dog from above. They should have a natural waist that curves inward between the back of their rib cage and hips.
You should also keep in mind that some dog breeds may be more prone to obesity than others. Along with underlying health conditions such as hypothyroidism or Cushing’s disease, weight gain in your pup can be caused by anything from sneaking too many treats under the dinner table to lack of or too little exercise and even poor nutrition. Consult with your veterinarian to rule out any possible medical conditions as well as diet options if you’re concerned about your pet’s weight gain.
Once you determine the cause of your dog’s weight gain, you then can begin to implement small, but meaningful changes into their lifestyle to help improve their health and shed those extra pounds.
Incorporate More Exercise in Their Daily Routine
Just like people, dogs need to move around every day to burn off extra calories. If you have yet to implement daily walks, now might be the time to start. Along with walks, find more opportunities to get your pup moving with playtime. Take up a game of fetch, toss a frisbee or whatever else your dog may enjoy. Aim for about 10-15 minutes of exercise for at least twice a day.
Reduce Portion Sizes
Now would be a good time to take a good look at how much you’re feeding your pup. If you haven’t paid much attention to the guidelines provided on your pet’s food label, these can be a good indicator as to how much food they need. Based on this amount, as well as their activity level, you will need to adjust accordingly. After 2-4 weeks, reevaluate your dog’s weight based on the changes made to their food amount.
Along with decreasing the amount of food you’re feeding your dog, you may also consider increasing how often you feed them. While it sounds counterintuitive, feeding your furry friend several smaller meals throughout the day, as opposed to one or two bigger meals can help with weight loss because more energy is used throughout the day to digest.
Don’t Leave Food Out Throughout The Day
It may be tempting to leave food out during the day, especially if you or other family members are gone for long periods of time. However, this might be encouraging your dog to overeat when you’re away. Instead, opt to remove any uneaten food once feeding time is over.
Avoid Giving Table Food and Reduce the Number of Treats
We all love to treat our furry friends every now and again. Unfortunately, these small bits of food have a tendency to add up over time and can do more harm than help. Stop or significantly reduce any table or “human” food, and limit treats to special occasions. If you’re still wanting to give your dog something other than their daily pet food, consider adding some healthy alternatives to their diet such as green beans, carrots, raspberries, apples or other pet-approved, safe fruits and vegetables.
Choose the Right Food
Good nutrition is an essential part of every diet. Make sure your dog is getting the proper nutrients they need for strong, healthy bodies. A good balance of protein, carbohydrates and fats paired with important vitamins and minerals will help them to lose some pounds and maintain a healthy weight.
If you’re looking for a more nutrient dense formula that contains a wholesome blend of ingredients such as chicken, potatoes, and peas along with natural sources of Omega 3 and 6 and no grains, try feeding your dog Hi-Standard’s Pure Grain Free Recipe. When looking to improve the health of your favorite four-legged friend, don’t just give them any dog food. Give them the best. Give them Hi-Standard.