There are quite a few variables that go into the ideal weight for your dog. It will usually depend on the breed and their specific bone structure. You should be able to feel their bones n their ribs and spines pretty easily. If not, your dog may be overweight.
Below are some nutrition tips to help your overweight pup:
But my dog doesn’t eat that much – Weight loss is a simple equation of kilojoules ‘going in’ vs. kilojoules being used up by exercise. If your dog is eating too much and/or not exercising enough, then he/she is likely to be putting on weight.
Could it be a medical problem? – Occasionally, there are some medical conditions that can cause a dog to be overweight. Before you commence a weight-loss program for your dog, it’s advisable to have a chat with your veterinarian.How do I start a weight loss program? – The simple solution is to feed your dog less of everything (including treats, titbits and leftovers) and start exercising more. This is sometimes not that easy as your dog may demand more food. When decreasing the total amount of food, bulk up what you do serve by including fibre such as cooked pumpkin, carrots or unprocessed bran so he/she does not feel so hungry and is not so demanding.
But Rex loves his VEGEMITE* on toast for brekkie! – Some people like to give their dog treats and titbits, which is fine – this can be part of the enjoyment of owning a dog. A way to still do this while managing your dog’s weight loss is to start the day by putting ALL the food your dog would get on any given day into a bowl – including all and any treats. Once your dog’s emptied the bowl, you don’t put any more in that day. This can also help if you have a family where everyone wants to give your dog treats or leftovers.
You are your dog’s personal trainer – Exercise is a very important component of any weight loss program. Start to gradually increase the length of your dog’s walks. Add in some playtime or fetch during the day to encourage your dog to be more active. Feed your dog using food release devices (e.g. Kongs, Buster Food Cubes, etc.) to encourage your dog to ‘work’ for their food. Some owners even throw the dry food out into the backyard (like feeding the chooks) to encourage their dog to search for it. This is great environmental enrichment for any dog, not just overweight ones.
For a diet or nutrition plan to work, everyone who lives or interacts with the dog on a regular basis must work together. The same rules you have for your own nutrition should apply to your dog so they can live a long and healthy life with you.
Can you admit to sabotaging your dogs diet with too many treats or table scraps?