Diet and Care for Dogs with Obesity

By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. February 20, 2017
Diet and Care for Dogs with Obesity

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Sometimes, especially as they grow older, our dogs can become obese. Although it may seem funny and even adorable, obesity in dogs is a cause for concern. It is convenient to put them on a weight loss diet to prevent the many adverse consequences that this serious problem can entail.

The veterinarian should determine our dog's problem, its causes and possible solutions. They must oversee the entire process for it to be effective and not counter-productive for our pet. Keep reading this AnimalWised article on the best diet and care for dogs with obesity and learn what to do.

You may also be interested in: Homemade Recipes for Obese or Overweight Dogs

Go see the vet

Naturally, the first thing to do if we observe that our dog is gradually getting fatter is to go to the vet. The professional will check their weight and ask about their habits; only after that will they give the diagnosis and guidelines to follow to remedy the problem as far as possible. Obesity can result from a disease, so go to the specialist to rule out that possibility.

It is important to understand that every breed and age has a standard ideal weight that should set a weight range for each particular dog. Among the dog breeds prone to obesity, we can find:

  • Beagle
  • Basset Hound
  • Pug
  • Dachshund
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Bulldog
  • German Shepherd
Diet and Care for Dogs with Obesity - Go see the vet

Change the dog's dietary habits

To begin with, you must make a change in your dog's routine. As expected the best diet is exercise, obviously with the veterinarian's approval. Not all dogs can perform intensive exercise: for instance, Pugs are at risk of suffering respiratory and heart problems. Do some research before starting, and be cautious. Never push your dog beyond their limits.

It is not the same to try to get a young dog to lose their extra pounds than to try and do the same strategy with a senior or ill dog. Here you can find our tips and guidelines about physical exercise for obese dogs.

Diet and Care for Dogs with Obesity - Change the dog's dietary habits

What is the best diet for dogs with obesity?

Diets should not be generalized,because our pet's obesity may not necessarily be due to their overeating. Sometimes an endocrine disorder or a dysfunction in their body can cause our dog to fatten.

Our vet will give us the precise guidelines for the proper treatment of our dog: they will tell us what kind of feed they should eat, which type of exercise is most suitable, and what foods are completely forbidden.

If health problems are ruled out, the vet will probably recommend you give your dog dry feed, as this is the product with the lowest fat content. This applies only to healthy adult dogs, as dry feed may have too much protein for senior dogs with liver or kidney problems. Make sure you offer your dog the exact amount of dry feed they need. This is usually indicated on product packaging, and it depends on their weight. Don't give your dog too much food, but don't give them too little.

Diet and Care for Dogs with Obesity - What is the best diet for dogs with obesity?

Exercise for dogs with obesity

How often should you walk your dog? Every dog has specific exercise needs: while a Chihuahua will have enough with two short daily walks, a Boxer will need at least half an hour for each of its three daily walks.

Even if you see that your dog is listless, apathetic and reluctant to exercise, it is important to motivate it with games or affection so that it starts strengthening its muscles again. Do not impose large doses of exercise at once: it should be a gradual process. Here you can find some tips to motivate your dog to play. To get your dog with obesity to exercise again, start by lengthening its walks and leaving it free to play in a dog park with other pets. Social motivation usually works very well.

Diet and Care for Dogs with Obesity - Exercise for dogs with obesity

Low-intensity exercise for dogs with obesity

Once your dog begins to adapt to its new workouts, you should start practicing low-intensity exercise together. It's very important that you get involved in the activity, as this will motivate the dog.

The best low-intensity exercise for obese dogs is going cycling. You will hardly get tired, while your dog will have to make an effort to keep up with you. Start slowly:

  1. Get hold of a bicycle adapter for dogs.
  2. Present the bike to your four-legged friend. Let it sniff it.
  3. Practice short walks with the adapter so that your dog gets used to it.
  4. The dog will quickly understand that its role is to stay by your side.
  5. Don't force the dog to run in a frenzy: keep it jogging steadily and safely to avoid causing any muscle injuries.
  6. Require effort from your dog, but don't punish it or scold it if you see it running around breathless or tortuously trying to keep up.
Diet and Care for Dogs with Obesity - Low-intensity exercise for dogs with obesity

Active exercise for dogs with obesity

Working out with your dog is enjoyable for both, and you may discover your own potential as an athlete if you weren't aware of it already! Take this chance to develop a healthier lifestyle. You can consider dog sports to get active together: Canicross, dog agility, etc.

By exercising in a positive and healthy manner, your obese dog will start to recover its ideal weight. It is important to understand that you are promoting the development of its muscles, and therefore you should not stop exercising even if it is within normal weight.

It is always better to adopt a gentle, low-intensity exercise routine and maintain it than starting advanced, active sports only to abandon them in a month.

Diet and Care for Dogs with Obesity - Active exercise for dogs with obesity

If you want to read similar articles to Diet and Care for Dogs with Obesity, we recommend you visit our Diets to lose weight category.

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1 comment
Deb Sawyer
What's the best way to get your dog to lose weight?
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Deb,

Here is some more information to help you out:

Generally, a dog losing weight is the same as any person needing to lose weight. Diet and exercise.
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