Help Your Dog Lose Weight

by DFS-Pet-Blog on February 1, 2012

Scale **Guest post from Ellen B.**

Since I write for a pet blog and work with several veterinarians and other pet experts, it’s hard to confess that my dog (Kobe) is gaining weight…too much weight. I’m not putting my dog on a diet, but I am going to help him lose weight. Before his annual wellness exam in about 4 months, I’m going to help my dog lose weight.

Helping a Dog Lose Weight

Just 3 calories each.

Just 3 calories each.

Treats – In Moderation!
My dogs are both very food-motivated and they LOVE getting treats. Also, during the winter months I tend to do more trick training, so they have been getting more treats than they probably should. Instead of cutting back on the NUMBER of treats I give them, I’m going to cut down on the SIZE of treats by breaking them into smaller pieces. Charlie Bear dog treats are great because they have just 3 calories per treat. In their eyes, a treat is a treat no matter what the size. (Ok, I do need to resist giving them a treat every time they flash those irresistible eyes at me!)

Meals in toys
Puzzle dog toys that dispense kibble are great because they make a dog work mentally and physically to get the food. Plus, it’s fun for them! They get rewarded for their work, and it slows down their eating. I put part of my dogs’ evening meals in a puzzle toy, and then I give them the remainder in their dog bowl.

Increase Physical and “Mind” Exercise
Outside exercise during the winter is a challenge. By time I get home from work on weekdays, it is dark. Living in the northwoods of Wisconsin, walking on windy, dark roads (no sidewalks) is fairly dangerous. Even with reflective vests on the dogs and me, it’s difficult for drivers to see us. During weekdays, I’m doing more indoor “mind” exercises, and take them in the basement for more running and crazy playtime. On weekends, I’ll be sure they get plenty of outside walking/running on weekends. (The frozen snow-covered lake is like a big playground for them!)

Looking good!

Looking good!

If my dog doesn’t drop the few extra pounds, I’ll definitely take him to his veterinarian to rule out any medical problems that could cause weight gain. I’m glad I monitored my dog’s weight and became aware of his weight gain before it became and real health concern.

Do you have any tips that worked for helping your dog lose weight? Please share your tip(s) in a comment below!

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Helping My Dog Lose Weight | Lovely Pets
February 2, 2012 at 2:50 am

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Karen R February 1, 2012 at 11:32 am

My Maltese loves carrots & gets them in the place of treats!

Ellen B. February 1, 2012 at 2:09 pm

Karen, fresh veggies (and fruits) are a great idea. Kobe never used to like pieces of banana, but now that his puppy sister likes it, he has decided he also likes it! I haven’t tried carrots, but I’ll give them a try. Thanks for the tip 🙂

Devri Owens February 1, 2012 at 2:52 pm

My dog Brian was VERY overweight. He is a Chihuahua-mix, and was a VERY unhealthy 24 pounds. Thankfully, the lady that I have make my dogs harnesses informed me of the food that she feeds her dogs at the rescue she owns. She feeds them Wellness Pet Food. I switched my Brian to the Reduced Fat one, and also learned how to not “over treat”. I was giving him treats just for being adorable, and was doing the worse thing you can ever do – let them eat human food. HUGE NO-NO! It was hard seeing him sit there with the “ARE YOU SERIOUSLY NOT GIVING ME MORE TREATS MOM” look on his face, but I did it! I bought him a cozy bed to go to when we eat, so that way he isn’t begging at our feet. He is now down to a very healthy 14 pounds and can run circles around my Miniature Dachshund, who happens to be a race wiener! I also developed a very strict diet regimen and stick to it religiously. I only give the proper amount of food for his body weight at his breakfast and dinner times, and they get a special “treat” every night of the week – Mon: cooked carrots (half of a small can); Tues: all natural Omega low fat peanut butter in their Kong; Weds: 4 inch bully stick (non-fat); Thurs: cooked carrots; Fri: peanut butter Kong; Sat: 2 tablespoons of canned food (the same kind as their kibble); Sun: 4 inch bully stick. Just stick to your guns! They love the routine! In fact, now Brian tells me when it’s time for his “treat”! And, this is the truth, when we go grocery shopping, he picks out the cans of carrots! 😉

Sherry G February 1, 2012 at 5:12 pm

I keep a measuring cup in the bag of kibble so that I am measuring out the correct amount for Maddie (2 year old rescued miniature poodle). She is fed 3/8 cup in the morning and another 3/8 cup in the evening. Treats are small and include halfed or broken dog biscuits, maybe carrots, and she likes green beans (unsalted canned kind).

She also works for some treats with find-it puzzle toys like the Seek-A-Treat Flip N Flap Dog Puzzle Toy and the newer one she got recently, the Dog It Mind Games Interactive Toy for Dogs.

Ellen B. February 2, 2012 at 8:49 am

Thanks to all of you experienced dog owners for these excellent and important tips!

Sherry, I agree that having a measuring cup…and sticking to it…is really important. I was starting to do a little of the “heaping” 1/2 cup for Kobe, but no more of that!

Devri, I also do the “special treat” but I’m trying to get it down to maybe only 5 nights. A “special treat” is definitely different than a “treat” and they know it! Those ears pop right up when they hear “special treat!” The new Deer Antlers make a great special treat without the calories.

I’m glad to say Kobe has dropped 2 pounds and is looking good!

Erin February 3, 2012 at 12:16 pm

I had an extremely obese chocolate lab and was asked to write an article in January regarding my experience:

Weight is always a topic that is danced around when it comes to humans and oftentimes their pets. One of the most popular New Year’s Resolutions is to loose weight, so I would like to get the topic out in the open and share the roller coaster weight ride of my dog, Zeus.

Zeus came into my life when he was 8 weeks old. Just looking at the size of his paws I knew he was going to be a big boy and named him accordingly. He was actually growing at such a fast pace that at 6 months of age Zeus was diagnosed with arthritis – his ball and socket joints were not growing at the same rate and his hips were grinding bone on bone. He was limping from just running and playing fetch so the veterinarians told me to restrict his activity to alleviate the pain. Other than those words, I was not given guidance on how to tackle the issue that ultimately arose from the veterinarian’s advice.

After years of limited activity and a lot of money on joint supplements, Zeus became obese. He was four years old and approaching 110lbs. Expecting him to be a large adult dog to fill in the monstrous puppy paws he had, I did not see his problem until I became a staff member at Mutt Hutt and became educated on proper nutrition and the benefits of high quality food and exercise. I became aware of how important portion control was in helping your dog lose or maintain their perfect weight. For example, two cups of Fromm or Orijen is not the same as two cups of Purina or Kibbles and Bits. Higher quality foods have higher levels of nutrients and good calories which means your dog needs to consume a lessor amount of the better premium brands.

Zeus was allowed to come to daycare at Mutt Hutt with me everyday and although his playtime was curbed, I noticed a huge difference after only two months of his daycare activity and new diet. Zeus had noticeably lost weight, his energy level increased and his joints were feeling better. Finally acknowledging the dire situation I had inadvertently put my pup in was hard. I felt awful for letting his weight get so out of control and not realizing how much more damage I was causing him was devastating.

Although he is approaching his 9th birthday and his time at Mutt Hutt has been cut back even more, Zeus is down to 74 healthy pounds. We walk a couple of miles everyday (often with his backpack filled with bottled water), have a weekly hydrotherapy session at our holistic vet, measure out exactly how much food he gets at each feeding and give the occasional healthy snack of fresh fruits and vegetables or low calorie treat.

Rich Brown February 8, 2012 at 4:07 am

These are great tips for any dog lover/owner who wishes to take proper care of their pooch. Wouldn’t massively trust diet dog food- all things in moderation, make sure they get the nutrients and vitamins they need. Like kids, really.
Makes me very sad when I see a morbidly obese dog struggling to walk, it’s so unfair and irresponsible! Glad all you dog lovers visiting this blog have the good sense to care for your friends properly! 🙂

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