Just like with people, extra pounds on your dog can translate to increased risk of illness, shortened life span, lameness and other health difficulties. But unlike people, dogs don’t really care if they are overweight, so it is up to you to put your overweight dog on a diet, or make sure that your dog doesn’t get fat in the first place.
So, just what is a good diet for overweight dogs?
Obviously, you want to feed your pet a nutrient rich food, but if he is already overweight you have to also feed him one that is low in fat and has reduced calories. When it comes to extra pounds, one of the most important things is portion control, so you want to make sure to feed your dog the correct amount for his size. Chances are, if your pet is overweight, you have been feeding him too much until now. To help get started, take a look at our free book Healthy Homemade Dog Food Recipes.
While everyone likes to give their dog treats, you need to really control them when Fido is on a diet. Also – stay away from “people” food unless your dog likes fruits or vegetables. Shop for some “diet” dog treats your pet likes but limit the treat giving for only special occasions. If your dog is used to getting a treat at a certain time, try feeding him a bit less and using some of his food as a treat, that way he won’t be eating any extra calories.
A good diet for overweight dogs consists of regular feedings. You’ve probably heard that it’s better for overweight people to eat several small meals a day – well this might not be such a bad idea for your dog either. You want to split his food into at least 2 meals and don’t leave uneaten food out after your dog is finished eating.
I previously mentioned portion control. Before you can figure out how much your dog should be eating on his new diet, you need to figure out how much you give him now. So, feed him as your regularly do, except measure the amount you give him. You can use a regular measuring cup and you really only need to do this for 1 or 2 days to get the amount he is eating now. Then simply, feed him 25% less than you already do. Once your dog has lost some weight and seems to “plateau”, then reduce the food amount by another 25%. Keep doing this until your dog reaches his goal weight.
There are many commercial dog foods that you can buy at the grocery store – or order online and have delivered to your doorstep – that are adequate for a diet for overweight dogs, but you may want to talk to your veterinarian to find out what is best for your particular situation. Depending on how much extra weight your dog has and other health issues, an off the shelf food may not be best. Sure, it might cost a bit more to get a specialized food, but the health of your dog is worth it!
Here are two options of dog food that are specially formulated for overweight dogs and can be ordered from Amazon (click on the images to see details):
Some people prefer to try and cook their own dog food for their pets. With a little bit of effort on your part, you could easily improve your dog’s health and save yourself some money compared to buying commercial dog food. It is a classic time-money trade-off, that everyone needs top decide for themselves. It is easy and fun to cook make healthy home-cooked meals and snacks for your dog. A great way to get started with that is with our free book “Healthy Homemade Dog Food Recipes” which you get when you subscribe to our weekly newsletter at the top of this page or at the bottom of this post.
If you do give it a try, please leave a comment to let us know what you think.
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