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How to Help Your Dog Lose Weight

May 05, 2021 3 min read
french bulldog on scale

Obesity can be a serious health issue for your loyal canine companion. Overweight dogs are prone to health problems like high blood pressure, liver problems, heart problems, and canine diabetes. Because of this, managing a dog’s weight is key to ensuring they have a great quality of life as they age. If your dog is looking a little chunky, here’s what you need to know about helping them to lose weight the right way (and no, they don’t have to give up natural dog treats for good!).

How to tell if your dog is overweight

There are certain signs that you can watch out for to see if your dog is overweight, including:

  • Difficulty feeling your dog’s ribs
  • A more rounded body shape than is usual for the breed
  • A sagging waist that sits lower than the chest
  • Shortness of breath during light exercise

Your dog’s veterinarian can help you determine if your dog is overweight based on your dog’s size and breed. The American Kennel Club also has a more comprehensive list that can help owners identify if their dogs are overweight.

While there could be a number of medical conditions contributing to your dog’s rising weight, the primary cause of overweight dogs is overeating. Different dog breeds have different nutritional requirements that vary with age, size, and activity level. Because of this, overfeeding a dog is more common than most people think. A sedentary lifestyle also contributes to dog obesity, because then your dog isn’t burning off those extra calories.

dog on scale with food

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How to help your dog lose weight through diet

Much like humans, a dog’s weight is best controlled by paying attention and controlling what they eat. Make sure to give your dog just the right amount of food during mealtime and stick to a diet plan. Good dog food for overweight dogs will have the right amount of fiber, protein, and calories to keep your dog feeling full without contributing to weight gain.

One way to avoid overfeeding is to give your dog low-calorie healthy dog chews. For example, cow ears are lower in fat than pig ears and are a great chew for overweight dogs when given in moderation. Similarly, chicken jerky is a leaner protein than beef and provides a similar flavor and texture with less fat. Antlers are another popular chew as they have a high protein to low-fat ratio and are heavy-duty to last a long time.

Remember — when treating your dog, treats should only account for less than 10 percent of their total caloric intake. With this in mind, try to limit the number of treats you give your dog on a daily basis or look for treats that are lower in calories.

Making the decision to give your dog healthier meals also means that you have to avoid feeding them leftovers. A balanced diet means different things between dogs and humans, and feeding your dog leftovers may mean that they end up eating ingredients in amounts safe for humans, but definitely unhealthy for dogs.

dog wrapped in measuring tape

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How to help your dog lose weight through exercise

Owners who live an active lifestyle may find it easier to get their dogs on the road to a healthy weight. Finding time for exercise for overweight dogs may be as simple as taking your dog along with you when you go out for a walk.

Of course, there are things to consider when getting an overweight dog to lose some weight. You wouldn’t be able to complete a marathon without the proper training and conditioning, so don’t expect your overweight dog to pull off challenging physical activities from the get-go.

Start with smaller walks and get your dog used to going out. After a day of rest, you can start increasing the distance and pace to a level just above slightly comfortable for your dog. Make sure to keep them hydrated during exercise sessions.

Also, don’t forget to make exercise a fun activity that your dog can look forward to. The right treat and a promise of new sights and sounds are usually more than enough to get your dog excited for exercise.

If you’re looking for healthy, long-lasting dog treats to promote a healthy weight, consider ordering from Best Bully Sticks. All of our treats and chews are made from premium, high-quality ingredients that contribute to a healthy diet. Check out our dog treat subscription box if you never want to worry about running out of dog treats again!

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