Diet Tips for Obese Dogs

Obese dogs are prone to more health problems and may not live as long, so it's important to keep your dog at his proper weight. If your dog is obese, there are many things you can do to reduce his weight and improve his health.

Obese Dog Diet

Many dogs are obese because they are fed a low-quality food with lots of filler and few nutrients. Thus, they must eat more of it to get the nutrients they need, packing on extra pounds.

When putting your obese dog on a diet, don't reduce the protein content. Improve the quality of the protein. Don't feed your dog a food with corn, wheat or meat byproducts, which provide no nutritional value. Instead, feed a food with high-quality protein as its top two ingredients.

Feeding a high-quality food will allow you to reduce the amount that you feed by 25 percent. If you don't notice a difference in two weeks, reduce a little more and replace that with ground vegetables, such as green beans, broccoli, celery or squash. One or two spoonfuls of canned pumpkin can also replace fat-filled calories with healthy ones.

If you free-feed your dog, stop. This allows your dog to eat throughout the day whenever he wants, which isn't a healthy dieting strategy. Feed your dog twice a day or several small meals throughout the day. Make sure you measure these meals to ensure you aren't feeding more food by increasing frequency.

Making your dog work for his meals can also help him lose weight. Instead of putting them in a bowl, toss kibble across the yard so he must search for it or hide it in toys and paper bags and place it in different locations in your house. Put kibble in a ball that spits out kibble as your dog rolls it or wet it down, stuff it in a hollow toy and freeze it.

If you have more than one dog, feed them separately to ensure that each dog is eating his own food.

Obese Dog Exercise

If your dog is overweight, his activity level also needs to be increased. Obese dogs need steady, daily exercise. If your dog hasn't been exercising frequently, build up his activity level each day, being careful not to overdo it on one day to make up for not exercising the previous day.

Leash walks and hikes can be good exercise, but dogs need to move faster than the typical loose-leash walk to really burn calories. In addition to walks, add a few sessions of playtime to your dog's evening. Teach him to get excited about a ball and play catch in the house, yard or at the park. Play tug games and have him chase you to get the toy.

Training games can also be good exercise. Have your family stand in different parts of the yard and call your dog. When he runs to the right person, he gets a handful of his dinner. On rainy days, have your family hide in different parts of the house and call your dog to find them.

Reducing your dog's weight is a combination of the right diet and exercise. When done properly, it will help your dog live a healthier, more comfortable life.