Diet and exercise tips for getting an obese dog back into shape.
Dog obesity, like human obesity, is on the rise, with a recent report suggesting that one in three pet dogs is overwight. The difference is that, unlike humans, dogs have little control over what they eat. They are totally reliant on their human guardians.
If the guardian chooses to overfeed the dog, and doesn’t exercise him, the dog will become fat, simple as that. And this becomes even more pronounced as the dog ages and becomes less active.
An obese dog is exposed to many dangers including an increased risk of cancer, diabetes, and organ failure. So, if you want your dog to live a long, happy, healthy life, its time to take action immediately.
Obese Dog Diet
The very first thing you’ll need to do is to make adjustments to your dog’s diet. Many overweight dogs are obese despite being active, simply because they are fed too much.
The actual amount your dog is fed may vary from day to day, but in general, vets recommend the following (dry food) feeding guidelines:
- Less than 10 Pounds – 1/3 – 1 cup a day
- 10-25 Pounds – 1-2 1/4 cups a day
- 25-50 Pounds – 2 Cups to 3 Cups a day
- 50-75 Pounds – 3 Cups to 5 Cups a day
- Over 75 Pounds – 5-8 Cups a Day
These weights obviously apply to healthy dogs, so if you have an obese dog, don’t rely on his current weight. Rather find out what a healthy dog of his breed should weigh and use that as your guide.
For example, average weight for an adult Labrador Retriever is 60 pounds. If your Lab weighs 80 pounds he is overweight, and should be fed according to the recommendation for a 60 pound dog.
Start by cutting meals down to twice per day. Split the recommended quantity of food in half and feed the dog in two sittings.
Whatever you do, stick to set meal-times, rather than leaving food all day – the easiest way to make a dog obese.
In addition, if you’re feeding your dog table scraps, stop immediately. And also cut down on other treats, giving them as a reward only. The odd treat once or twice a day won’t hurt, but given throughout the day they quickly add up.
Obese Dog: Excercise
A healthy diet is great, but your dog won’t maintain a healthy body weight without exercise. The good news is that, unlike many humans, dogs have no problem sticking to a regular exercise routine – in fact, they love it!
All healthy adult dogs should have regular exercise. At a minimum, try for one hour per day, consisting of one or two walks. For some dogs, you may be able to get away with a little less, for others, you’ll need much more.
Supplement the walks with games like fetch and tag. You don’t even need to leave your property to do these, with a little dog you may not even have to go outdoors.
The important thing is that you get your dog walking, running, and jumping. And don’t assume that because your dog is a bit of a couch potato he won’t be interested. Given the opportunity all dogs love a work-out.
Remember though, that if your dog is extremely obese or unhealthy, you’ll have to take things slowly. Start by taking your dog to the vet for a physical, and recommendations on how to proceed.
Big changes introduced suddenly place stresses on the body, so when dealing with an already obese dog, take things slow and steady.