How to Slim Down a Fat Dog

Help your dog eat well with a good diet.
Help your dog eat well with a good diet. (Image: Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

It's hard enough for people to lose weight, but putting a dog on a diet requires a lot of dedication, discipline and self-control, especially for you as the pet owner. Fat pets can develop serious health problems and can have a significantly shorter lifespan. If you want to help your dog lose excess pounds, there are several steps you'll need to take.

Make sure there is not a health problem that's contributing to the dog being overweight. Have a vet perform a physical to rule out a thyroid problem. While certain health problems can cause weight gain, it's more likely that your dog is overweight because of overeating and a lack of exercise.

Weigh your dog so you have a starting point, and then set a realistic weight-loss goal. You'll want to do this with a vet's guidance. It's not realistic to have a 100 lb. dog and expect him to shed 30 three months.

Walk your dog twice a day. Put your pet on a leash and take him for a 30 minute walk, two times a day. This does not mean putting your dog out in the backyard and expecting him to chase rabbits. If you're dedicated to getting your canine healthy, exercise is a crucial step in weight loss. If it means you'll have to wake up 30 minutes earlier in the morning and walk him after dinner, do it.

Adjust your pet's diet. Measure how much dog food you're giving him at each meal. This allows you to control the number of calories the dog is taking in. It's also a good idea to switch to a diet pet food specifically designed for weight loss in pets. You can still give your dog treats on occasion, but make sure they're diet treats. Consider breaking them in half or quarters and giving your pet only a portion at a time.

Avoid giving your dog table food at all costs. This is where dogs get many unnecessary calories. If the dog whines, begs, or gives you a pathetic puppy dog face, keep him out of the kitchen during dinner so you don't cave in to the manipulation.

Tips & Warnings

  • When you have more time on the weekends, take your dog to a park, on a hike or for a swim.
  • In larger breeds especially, obesity can lead to heart, knee, and shoulder problems just to name a few.

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