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How Do I Help My Dog Lose Weight?

The obvious answer here is stop overfeeding him! It is a sad fact that obesity in dogs is becoming a common occurrence.

It is even sadder when you realize that you are to blame since the dog relies on you for food. So are you still wondering why your dog is obese? Well, only you know the answer.

If your dog is normal in weight then it is easier to help him stay that way than to wait for him to become overweight then worry about how to help him lose the extra weight.

You can do this by proper exercise and good feeding habits. Dogs are capable of functioning surprisingly well while being fed one meal a day. Since humans normally eat three meals a day most people think the same applies to dogs...wrong!

So how can you help your dog lose weight?

- Have regular meal times for the dog during which time you feed your dog. Avoid feeding the dog at varying times of the day.

- If you feel that one meal a day is not enough for your dog then divide this portion into small portions and feed twice or thrice.

- Do not give your dog titbits from the table. He may learn to expect them and will start to rely on them. These titbits are not healthy and only add calories.

- Give healthy alternatives as dog treats or use light snacks

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- Exercise; ensure your dog gets enough exercise. Take him for a walk or go jogging with him. If you have the time, take him to the park and throw some Frisbees. This is fun and also helps burn some fat.

- You can buy commercial premium diet food for dogs. These are likely to be more expensive than normal dog food but they will have less filler and are more nutritious.

- Do not give excuses. It is true that neutered dogs may gain weight but this is no reason for them to become overweight. If necessary reduce the amount of food and let the dogs get plenty of exercise.

- Read labels when purchasing dog food. Go for food that is high in protein and fibre and low in fat.

- Dogs incapacitated by illness or recovering from illness have less physical activity while at the same time need a lot of food to help in recovery. For such dogs, give dog food that is high in fibre and more nutritious.

Obesity predisposes dogs to many diseases. Save your dog a lot of suffering and yourself cost of vet care by keeping your dog fit. If you are not sure if your dog is overweight consult the vet for the correct dog weight. Different breeds will weigh differently e.g. 23 kg is normal for a German shepherd dog but may be overweight for a dachshund.

It is your responsibility to ensure that your dog sticks to his diet and doesn’t become overweight. Do not bow down to pressure or to his “begging sad face.” Giving in to the dog only encourages him to be worse.

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