Practical Weight Control for Your Dog

It is very common for a dog to have a weight exceeding the healthy range. Overweight dogs are more susceptible to illness and a shorter life span and can be at higher risk for canine cancer. There are simple and safe ways to help decrease dog fat. In addition to reading this article, consult your veterinarian for more tips to help with dog weight loss.

Vet Will Help Determine Ideal Weight

Only a veterinarian can accurately and thoroughly assess whether or not a dog is overweight or obese. But you can look for the following signs that might indicate an excess of dog fat. A healthy dog's waist, not belly, shows when viewed from above, and a belly that appears tucked in when viewed from the side. The ribs should be easily felt under a thin layer of flesh but not visible to the naked eye. An obese dog may have fleshy deposits over the base of the tail, the chest, or the spine.

Effective Weight Loss for Dogs

There are many causes of excess dog fat and several simple solutions. The causes range from too many calories and not enough exercise, to an underlying medical condition such as diabetes or hypothyroidism which can affect metabolism. Your dog may have hip dysplasia or ligament injuries that limit his or her ability to be active. When a dog is spayed or neutered, his caloric needs decrease as well. Treating and ruling out underlying medical issues is key to helping your dog reach an ideal weight. The bottom line is that your dog needs to take in less calories than he or she burns until the ideal weight is reached.

Practical Tips to Decrease Dog Fat

Your vet will tell you exactly how much food your dog should get. You may choose a reduced calorie formula which is a bit easier than drastically reducing the amount of food the dog gets. Feed your dog at the same time each day and in the same location. Make sure he or she isn't then snacking on other animal food in the house, or on scraps from the table. Factor in exactly how many extra treats your dog can have and still lose weight. Focus on low calorie treats such as carrots and apple pieces, or a small amount of lean cheese.

Establish an exercise routine after checking with your vet about how much and what kind of exercise is appropriate for your dog. Start increasing the exercise little by little until you reach your goal. A large dog should walk 2 miles every day and a small dog should walk about 1 and a half miles a day. Play fetch or tug of war with your dog at least 10 minutes a day. Watch carefully for signs of fatigue or injury during exercise and don't push your dog past what he is safely capable of or willing to do on a particular day. A dog should be willing and able to exercise with just a few prompts and a small bit of encouragement.

Buy a canine scale and weigh your dog once a week. Track the progress until the goal is reached.

Focus on good nutrition and fresh water. Avoid calories that don't have a lot of nutritional value such as those found in cookies and biscuits. Many dogs love peeled apples or a small bit of reduced fat cheese or a small piece of a lean hot dog. Make sure you track each bite your dog gets, however. You can weigh out two ounces of lean cheese and give it over the day in small bites, for instance.