As in humans, obesity in dogs is an increasingly frequent problem, since about 40% of dogs in Europe are overweight. The causes are similar to those that cause obesity in humans: too much food or food of low quality, many sweets and little exercise. A quarter of overweight dogs have serious joint problems, such as osteoarthritis, which make some acts of daily life difficult, such as walking, sitting, lying down. In addition, excess fat puts pressure on the lungs and diaphragm, making breathing more difficult. To all the disorders caused by being overweight, such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, a decrease in the dog’s quality of life is added, since it cannot move with the same agility, play or fully enjoy itself. If your four-legged companion weighs more than he should and his vet has recommended that he lose weight, in this TecnoMd article we explain how to make your dog lose weight, keep reading!
To find out if your dog is overweight you can do a simple test that consists of touching its ribs . The ribs should not be visible, but you should be able to easily feel them by touch, so if you don’t feel them, your dog probably weighs more than he should.
Another option is to weigh him and compare his weight with the average weight of the breed. The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) has developed a body condition scorecard for dogs and cats detailing what an animal’s physique should be like at its ideal weight and when it is considered overweight or obese. Thus, an excess of between 10 and 20% is considered overweight, beyond this it is obesity. Without a doubt, they are a great help to get an idea of where our dog is, which will have an impact on the treatment to help him lose weight.
Apart from the above, the ideal is to visit your veterinarian to establish the ideal weight of your dog and thus have the goal to be achieved in mind. In addition, your vet will be able to determine if any pathological cause, such as a hypothyroidism problem, causes the overweight. This is essential, since finding the source of the problem is the first step in treatment.
The reasons that cause a dog to weigh more than it should are very varied and some can only be treated by a specialist:
In those cases in which diet or lack of exercise are the cause of the problem, it is possible to make a dog lose weight by making the appropriate corrections. If the problem is health or genetic, it should be the veterinarian who determines the steps to follow. Finally, if it is a recent sterilization that has caused the physical change in the dog, it can also be solved by adapting the diet.
After having evaluated the situation and having determined the cause and objective, the most important thing is that the whole family make the decision to improve the dog’s diet and adapt their quality of life together. Otherwise, the efforts will be in vain, since if one person continues to give him more sweets than he should while the others resist their pleading eyes, it will not work. To get your dog to lose weight, everyone must do their part, from the smallest to the largest.
Food is logically one of the first parameters that we must modify. Here we have several options and choosing one or the other will depend on different factors, such as time, economic expense and your own knowledge. Thus, we mainly distinguish between a feed suitable for the conditions of your dog and a homemade diet. For the second option, it is essential to have the advice of a veterinarian specialized in nutrition to avoid nutritional deficits and worsen the situation instead of improving it. For the first, that is, the feed to help a dog lose weightIn the market we find the so-called «light» or «low-calorie» feed, specifically designed to help dogs lose weight and maintain their ideal weight. However, not all are equally valid, it is essential to choose a quality one, with good raw materials and ingredients suitable for the canine species. A clear example of this, especially if your dog is small, is found in Lenda’s Mini Light&Sterilized feed , a complete food designed for sterilized and/or overweight adult dogs.
Small or mini size dogs are much more prone to being overweight because they often suffer from a lack of exercise because they think they need to exercise less, when this is not the case. Therefore, in these cases, a feed like Lenda’s is more than recommended. Delving into its characteristics, it stands out its high percentage of proteins of animal origin (more than 70%), its low caloric intake and that it uses only natural ingredients . In addition, it uses exclusively selected functional ingredients to provide a series of increased benefits. In other words, the set of ingredients that make up the recipe is fully designed to offer the expected results and guarantee quality food.
To avoid gastrointestinal problems it is very important to make the change of feed correctly. For this, the most recommended is a gradual introduction , so that it begins by mixing both feeds, contributing more of the old than of the new. Little by little, you should reduce the amount of the old feed and increase the amount of the new one, until you only have the new food.
Changing your dog’s diet will not be enough to make it lose weight, it is necessary to modify its habits around food. In general, it is always advisable to ration the dog’s food instead of leaving it freely available, but when we are faced with a case of overweight or obesity, this becomes even more relevant. So, the first thing we advise you is to establish a meal schedule and set with the vet the daily amount that your dog should eat . It is essential to strictly follow the established schedule because dogs are routine animals that adapt very quickly to schedules and, in fact, appreciate it.
On the other hand, if you live in the home with more animals and you have noticed that your dog tends to eat faster or with anxiety because of it, it is a good option to separate them. Being in separate spaces, they will be able to eat in a calmer and more relaxed way. Preventing the dog from eating quickly is not only beneficial for losing weight, but also for preventing serious health problems such as gastric torsion.
A correct education and training go through the use of positive reinforcement, and here sweets or sweets play a fundamental role. But they are not the only prizes that we can use, we can also reward with caresses, words of encouragement and even games.
In case of using sweets, it is important to know that sweets are also included in the dog’s daily food ration. That is, if a dog must eat 300 grams of feed a day, treats are included within those grams. Therefore, it will be crucial to weigh the sweets that will be given during the day so as not to exceed the total grams. Otherwise, the dog may not lose weight.
Many are the people who tend to give pieces of their food to their dogs while they are eating. This is not only detrimental to their health because our dishes may contain unsuitable ingredients, but it may also develop unwanted behavior problems , such as insistently barking every time they see us eat so that we can feed them too.
If your dog already does this, depending on the degree you can redirect the situation or not. To do this, you must have taught him to go to his place at your command to tell him to do it every time he tries to ask you for food. Of course, every time he obeys, reward him, but not with food. If he is very anxious, the best option is to consult a canine educator or ethologist.
For his physical and mental health, your dog needs to exercise every day adapted to his age and condition. For example, just because he’s small doesn’t mean he can take three easy 10-minute walks, he needs to really exercise! To stimulate him and make your dog lose weight, you can vary the walks and games, which can be more or less intense. Physical exercise is a necessity that all dogs have.
The exercise should be done progressively to avoid muscle and joint problems. Thus, if your dog is sedentary and does not usually play sports, get him used to it little by little . Likewise, if you have a puppy, do not take long walks with him until he is one year old, to avoid joint problems.
There are different types of exercise for obese dogs:
There are many ways to get your dog to exercise and it ranges from light exercise to more intense sports. In addition, a physical activity with your dog will strengthen your bond with him.
It all depends on how overweight the dog is, how sedentary it is, its age and general condition. On average, it is recommended that a dog take three to four daily walks of at least 20-30 minutes , and dedicating at least one walk for at least an hour. It is on this longer walk that you can exercise with your dog.
No matter how funny or cute you find it when your dog begs for food, it’s important to resist and stick to the schedule if you want to get your dog to lose weight. Of course, this does not mean that you should not reward your dog’s good behavior with treats, but remember that it is important not to overdo it and subtract it from the daily amount of food.
On the other hand, we insist on the importance of ensuring that you can exercise every day. At home you can also exercise if you have space to play, for example, to throw the ball. Also set an exercise plan and stick to it. Making your dog lose weight with quality food and exercise is only possible if you are constant.
This article is merely informative, at Tecnomd.com we do not have the power to prescribe veterinary treatments or carry out any type of diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the vet in the event that it presents any type of condition or discomfort.
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