How To Help My Dog Lose Weight
By Hungry Bark | August 8, 2020
Obesity is an epidemic that isn’t only affecting humans but also our pets. A 2018 survey conducted by the Association for Prevention of Obesity in Pets found that 36.6% of dogs were overweight, and 18.9% were obese. That’s an incredible 50 million dogs who were suffering from weight problems.
There are a number of factors that contribute to the high incidents of obesity in dogs. Poor quality commercial food, a lack of activity, and an overabundance of treats marketed to dogs all play a role in the steadily increasing obesity rates.
If you are concerned that your dog is affected by obesity, keep reading to find out how you can help your dog lose weight, trim down and prevent obesity from occurring in the first place.
The Dangers of Having An Overweight Dog
People love roly-poly puppies, and according to the APOP, 95% of people identify overweight dogs as being a healthy weight. A plump dog may be cute, but carrying excess weight puts them at risk for a number of preventable diseases and conditions including:
- Osteoarthritis of the knees and hips
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Cruciate ligament injuries
- Heart and respiratory disease
- Decreased life expectancy
- Increased risk of certain cancers
- High blood pressure
- Bladder stones
- Increased anesthetic risk
- Lowered heat tolerance
To protect your dog, and decrease their risk of developing these conditions, tracking their weight and being aware of any increases at veterinary appointments should be a part of a normal health routine.
How To Know If Your Dog Is Overweight
There are a number of charts that can help you learn how to recognize if your dog is overweight or obese. This chart from a pet hospital is a good example of how to identify if your dog is actually at a healthy weight.
Your dog should have an obvious taper to the waist when you look down at them, and there should be no obvious fat deposits around the hips or base of the tail. Since it can be a little tricky to tell by sight if a fluffier dog is overweight or not, there are some tricks for telling by touch. If you palpate your dog’s ribs around the shoulder blades you should be able to feel the ribs. They should not feel prominent as this could indicate your dog is underweight. While sight and touch are only a few indicators, they are good measures between visits to the veterinarian’s scale.
How To Help Your Dog Lose Weight
If your dog is overweight or obese, and it seems to have happened suddenly, the first step is to identify if there may be any underlying medical reasons causing your dog to gain weight. Conditions such as hypothyroidism, Cushing’s disease, and some medications can contribute to weight gain. Cushing’s and hypothyroidism require treatment, so it is best to rule those out if your dog seems to have other symptoms.
Most dogs are not suffering from underlying conditions. If your dog is obese, overweight, or to you want to prevent obesity, make sure you keep your dog active. This doesn’t have to mean going on a run. You can easily increase your dog’s activity simply by playing catch in the backyard. Other ideas for keeping your dog active include:
- Walking. It seems obvious, but people underestimate how effective it can be to add a long walk to your dog’s routine to help with weight loss.
- Swimming. If your dog is comfortable in the water and you have access, consider taking your dog for a swim in shallow water or a walk along the water’s edge. This is an easy activity for a dog that may have joint problems.
- Hiking. Taking your dog out along nature trails provides a little extra resistance in the form of different terrain. Being in nature could be just the change of pace both of you need to encourage you to stay active.
- Play with your dog - catch, fetch, tug of war. Any activity that gets your dog moving will help.
Feed Your Dog A Custom Meal Plan
There is a saying in fitness,“Good abs start in the kitchen”. This is true for dogs as well.
Weight issues start with a poor quality diet or overfeeding. To help your dog lose weight, you will need to reevaluate your approach to feeding your dog. Cut back on giving your dog treats, or switch to lower-calorie treats like carrots or green beans. Most dogs enjoy these, and won’t notice the difference.
Be sure you are feeding your dog high-quality food. Higher-quality food provides all the nutrients they need and isn’t packed with high calorie fillers.
Your dog will feel satisfied with a decreased amount of food while still getting all the nutrients they need. Good quality food like Hungry Bark recipes are an excellent option if you are trying to help your dog lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.
Help Your Dog Lose Weight With Hungry Bark
Hungry Bark uses only fresh ingredients in their food, and all their recipes are packed with superfood ingredients to provide your dog with a nutritionally balanced meal. All the fruits, vegetables, and meats used in Hungry Bark food are ethically sourced, and their food is produced in a kitchen in the U.S so they have oversight and can guarantee a quality product.
We all want our dogs to be with us as long as possible while staying healthy and pain-free. Helping them maintain a healthy weight by providing a nutrient-rich diet and plenty of exercise will help them live their happiest, healthiest lives.