How to Help Your Dog Lose Weight: 15 Steps

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How to Help Your Dog Lose Weight: 15 Steps
How to Help Your Dog Lose Weight: 15 Steps

Letting a dog become overweight can greatly reduce its lifespan, as the dog will be more susceptible to illnesses such as diabetes, cancer, heart problems and other debilitating factors. When he is heavily weighted, he also exerts excessive force on his spine and joints, causing arthritis. When you suspect that your dog is overweight, the best thing to do – both for the owner and the pet – is to adopt some measures so that he loses a few pounds.


Part 1 of 4: Determining if the dog is overweight

Help Your Dog Lose Weight Step 1

Step 1. Analyze the dog's appearance

As there are several sizes between dogs of the same breed, appearance is the most important factor when trying to find out if the dog is fat. Looking at it from above and from the side will give you a better idea of ​​the animal's current condition.

  • As you observe the dog from above and directly to its back, see if there is a well-defined waist in front of the hind legs and a definite difference between the chest and the abdomen.
  • When looking at it from the side, consider whether there is a difference between the size of the chest and the abdomen. It should be easy to notice the dog's waist, while the abdomen should be closer to the spine than the chest.
  • If his back is broad and uncurved, in addition to having a saggy abdomen, the dog may be overweight.
Help Your Dog Lose Weight Step 2

Step 2. Perform the “rib exam”

Another method to assess the animal's weight is the “rib test”. Place your hands on one side of his chest and examine his ribs; in a normal-weight dog, you should not be able to see them, but feel and count each one with ease. If that's not possible, he's probably overweight.

Help Your Dog Lose Weight Step 3

Step 3. Weigh the dog

There are several reliable tables on the internet that offer an ideal weight analysis according to the animal's breed. Remember that weight is based on averages and normal for each breed listed; in general, it is important to evaluate each dog individually.

  • Depending on its size, it is possible to find out its weight at home. If you want to weigh him without taking him to a veterinarian, first weigh yourself and then pick up the dog if possible. Subtract your own weight from the measurement taken when you and the dog were on the scale to get the pet's weight. Always use the same method to get accurate results when possible.
  • Taking your pet to the vet is a great way to get your pet's weight properly and to know the best recommendations for getting it to a healthy weight.

Part 2 of 4: Developing a Weight Loss Plan

Help Your Dog Lose Weight Step 4

Step 1. Go to a veterinarian

Once you've determined that your dog is overweight – or still have some questions – it's time to take him to the vet. The professional will be able to assess the situation, discuss the causes of overweight and give the owner an idea of ​​the mass that the animal should lose or, at least, outline an initial plan.

Help Your Dog Lose Weight Step 5

Step 2. Develop a diet with your veterinarian

He can also help you create a specific plan for your dog to lose weight; this includes the change to a type of food aimed at fat dogs, snacks and treats recommendations, the adjustment of portion size and number of meals, in addition to increasing physical exercise.

The veterinarian will also be able to assess whether there is any health-related reason that prevents such a diet from being adopted

Help Your Dog Lose Weight Step 6

Step 3. In extreme cases, the use of weight loss medications may be an option

Today, there are specific remedies for dogs to burn calories faster; they basically work to decrease the pet's appetite. However, it is important to know that the chance of side effects is great, with vomiting and diarrhea.

  • The medications should be used as a last resort, in dogs that are healthy and after ruling out any medical problems that could be a cause of both the dog's overweight and inability to burn mass.
  • The veterinarian will be able to determine if the pet is able to be submitted to this form of “regime”.

Part 3 of 4: Following the Weight Loss Plan

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Step 1. Adopt the recommended diet to promote your dog's weight loss

The ideal is to have the help of the veterinarian, who will draw a plan to determine the type of feed given to the animal. Sometimes it's just enough to reduce the amount of kibble you give him or switch to a calorie-burning diet.

There are prescribed diets that are available to help your dog lose weight, along with ways to feed to prevent the pounds from being regained once you reach the ideal weight. Such diets are lower in calories and contain more fiber, making the dog more satisfied while the calorie intake is lower. The rations used in such diets are generally more expensive than normal, and in most cases are reserved only in situations where mass loss is urgent or when reducing the normal amount of ration does not work

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Step 2. Measure the ration given to the dog at each meal

This will allow you to easily notice changes in appetite, which can indicate other problems, which is even more important when the goal is to get the dog to lose weight. It is necessary to know exactly what and how much he is eating to be able to measure the effectiveness of the diet and make the necessary adjustments.

If you have another dog at home, you may need to keep the puppies apart at feeding time. Each animal should eat its assigned ration, placing the bowl in separate rooms until they are empty

Help Your Dog Lose Weight Step 9

Step 3. Every day, record the amount of food given to the dog, including treats, and also how much physical activity they are doing

If you like, use a measuring cup, but weighing the food is a far more accurate way to ensure that the right amount is being given.

Make a chart or download one from the internet. Also, put in the animal's weight each week. Take the chart with you when you return to the vet so he can better review the progress of the diet

Help Your Dog Lose Weight Step 10

Step 4. Reduce or eliminate unhealthy treats

Most commercial dog treats are high in calories, much like the sweets people eat. Although there are treats with fewer calories, it is possible to practically eliminate the mass obtained through this form of food, replacing them with much healthier snacks.

  • Some examples of healthy dog ​​foods are: carrots, green beans, broccoli, apples and celery. As with any diet, the amount should be limited.
  • Think about the possible food allergies your dog has before giving him anything he's not used to eating. Also be aware that certain foods, although safe for humans, can be toxic to dogs and should be avoided.
  • When giving your pet a treat, don't forget to write it down in the daily calorie list. It may be necessary to reduce the portion of meals from other sources to compensate.
  • As a rule, snacks should not constitute more than 10% of the daily amount of calories in the diet.
  • If you want, grind some of the food you give the dog daily and use it as a treat for him.
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Step 5. Get the dog to exercise more often

Physical activity improves metabolism, muscle tone and helps the animal to achieve the ideal weight. Calculating the animal's weight is simple; the number of calories consumed in the diet minus the calories used during the day: this way, it will be possible to know whether or not there will be mass burning. By developing an exercise routine for your pet, your pet's metabolism and overall health will improve.

  • This should be one of the most important points to discuss with your veterinarian before allowing your dog to exercise regularly. Some breeds are naturally unable to do certain types and intensities of exercise. Also, depending on the animal's physical condition and the exercise environment, you must be very careful with the activities performed.
  • Generally, starting with short walks and gradually increasing the distance or speed – depending on what your pet can handle – is a simple way to implement a physical activity routine. Combine it with games such as throwing something for the dog to catch or just having fun with the dog's toys every day for 20 minutes.

Part 4 of 4: Monitoring and Adjusting the Diet

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Step 1. Check the animal's weight at least once a week

Buy a veterinary scale or apply any type of method you've already used to weigh it, and create a chart. Write down the dog's weight to see the progress made.

The dog should be weighed every month by the vet until he reaches his ideal weight

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Step 2. Assess whether the weight-loss plan is “radical” enough

When restricting the animal's calorie intake and taking it out for physical activities, but the results are still not satisfactory, consult the veterinarian again. It may be necessary to adopt a more calorie-restricted diet or increase exercise load.

The initial plan, even if outlined with the veterinarian, may not be perfect for your pet's needs. Feel free to change it with professional help and advice if it is not working

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Step 3. Think about the ways the dog might be getting fat

There are several possibilities that have nothing to do with health and that can influence the inability to lose weight. Among them is that of someone else in the house giving food or treats to the animal without your knowledge, that of the dog eating things in the garbage or picking up food that is left within reach of him.

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Step 4. Medical problems can also lead to weight accumulation

Some health disorders cause weight gain and make it difficult or impossible for the animal to lose weight. Hypothyroidism, for example, prevents the dog from being able to burn calories normally, while decreasing the animal's activity level, that is, it affects twice the difficulty of making the dog avoid being overweight.

Diabetes and Cushing's Disease are also diseases that lead to a dog's inability to lose weight


  • Always find out if certain foods can be given to dogs. Grapes, raisins, chocolate and onions can be very toxic to them, for example.
  • Excessive strenuous exercise is also harmful to puppies in certain cases. Talk to a veterinarian to advise you on the proper amount of physical activity your dog should do.
  • Always leave water within reach of the animal. Make sure it is clean and give it freely, unless the vet forbids it.

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