Over 30+% of all dogs seen by veterinarians are overweight. Dog food companies have gotten too good at providing diets that taste great to dogs — causing most dogs to overeat. An obese dog will be subject to a variety of potential health problems — including fatigue, reduced fertility and assorted heart conditions that can reduce his life span. If your dog is 15% over average weight then he is too fat. If you do not know your dog’s appropriate weight, consult your veterinarian.

If your dog is overweight, you need to check to make sure that you are feeding the proper amount of food. If you are overfeeding, slowly reduce the volume of food to your dog’s proper intake level, but be certain that the food that you are providing will satisfy his nutritional requirements.

From there, you may need to go onto a reducing diet to lower your pet’s weight.

In general, a good goal would be to have your pet lose 0.5-2.0% of its body weight per week. For instance, a 50-pound dog should lose 1/4 to 1 pound per week. A weight loss of 2% or more per week can cause more harm than good.

To discourage obesity in the future, remove the food bowl one hour after serving to prevent your pet from overeating. Encourage your dog to get exercise by playing with him two or more times a day.

If you think you are doing everything correctly, and your dog is still obese, your veterinarian may need to evaluate your pet for possible medical causes — such as low metabolic rate, hypothyroidism or diabetes.

Posted in: Dog FAQs