The Ultimate Weight Loss Guide For Dogs [2020 updated]

dog weight loss

Help Your Dog Lose Weight & Become a Fit Furry Friend

Do you want to help your overweight dog lose weight? Do you like the idea of keeping them youthful and active and even adding 2-3 years to their life?

This is the ultimate weight loss guide for dogs and we have spiced it up with some funny and helpful thoughts from a dog’s point of view.

Here’s the skinny on weight loss: To be successful, every weight loss plan must be based upon one basic fact: Dogs lose weight when they consume fewer calories than they burn. Sound familiar? The exact same thing is touted on thousands of commercials every day – for humans.

If you believe your dog is overweight and want him or her to be healthy and live longer, read on. This guide will help you understand the problems facing your overweight dog and come up with a fitness plan that works for everyone in the fa

The Skinny on How Weight Hurts Your Dog 

There is an epidemic of overweight and obese dogs in the United States. It’s now estimated nearly half of all U.S. dogs are either overweight or obese. Do the math. This adds up to over 35 million dogs.

{Here’s the skinny on weight loss: To be successful, every weight loss plan must be based upon one basic fact: Dogs lose weight when they consume fewer calories than they burn.}

So what are the issues you could face if your dog becomes overweight or obese? To start with, your family pet is more likely to suffer from a disabling medical condition like these:

  • Diabetes
  • Arthritis/Joint Pain
  • Heart disease
  • Lung disorders
  • High blood pressure
  • Immune dysfunction
  • Cancerous tumors

Equally as important - A recent study proves dogs who maintain an ideal body weight can live up to two or three years longer (and with less disease) than their overweight peers. We are talking about two years where they share in your family’s outings, take you out for a walk, play fetch and more.

Dogs’ joints take a pounding month after month and year after year. Everything from running after Frisbees to jumping out of the truck gives them joy. Some dogs can withstand this activity without experiencing too much joint pain and arthritis. For others it creates a real problem. The leading factors for these issues are advancing age and overweight.

Most of the time you’ll notice dogs with joint problems are less active or have more difficulty doing things they used to enjoy. Watch for your dog having problems getting into the car, going up the stairs, or jumping off the deck.

You can expect an overweight dog to face these issues earlier in their lives than would otherwise be expected. As a dog owner, it’s important to stop and imagine your vital, happy and active dog not being able to walk and play with you or the kids.

Keep that image in mind as you come up with a plan to help your dog lose weight and get healthy, happy and more active.

Surprising Ways Dogs Train Their Humans

Let’s look at this “weighty” situation from a dog’s point of view. Meet Grover, a friendly and wise Border Collie who has a clear picture of this wonderful relationship between dogs and humans.

“I love my humans. They feed me, they throw my sock across the floor and scratch behind my ears. I really like that part. My name is Grover – a combination of Grrrr… and Rover…. My humans think they are pretty clever.

I don’t worry about names much, but if I’m being honest, I’m not 100% happy being the namesake of a portly president from last century. I prefer to think I’m a little jazzy and upbeat… like bluesman Grover Washington.

A Wag of the Tail Does The Trick

As long as they call me for dinner, all is forgiven. My humans are really warm and helpful people. They are pretty smart overall and almost as smart as dogs, which helps make their training easy. You know, wrap them around our paw with a happy face and wag of the tail. It’s too bad everything in life isn’t that easy.

I’ve discovered if you reward humans for their good behavior, they are likely to do it again and again. So I try to let them know I appreciate it when they feed me from the table. I also love it when they scratch my belly when I lay on my back and play chase with me. It is so easy to look at them with happy, adoring eyes or wag may tail to encourage their behavior and attention.”


Sound familiar? That’s it in a nutshell. Your dog is a fast learner and they know how to play the “show me love” game with persistence. It looks like this process of making your dog a real fit furry friend is going to require some teamwork.

How Does Your Dog Measure Up?

Before starting to help your overweight dog lose weight and get healthier, it’s important to know how to get an accurate picture of their weight and size in relation to their breed.

Here is an interesting fact: veterinarians in the U.S. state nearly 50% of all the dogs they see are overweight to some degree. On the other hand, only 17% of pet owners believe their dogs have a weight problem. So there is room for discussion and more clarity here.

{Veterinarians in the U.S. state nearly 50% of all the dogs they see are overweight to some degree. On the other hand, only 17% of pet owners believe their dogs have a weight problem.}

Veterinarians constantly hear pet owners make statements like, “How can she be overweight? She hardly eats all of her dog food every day.” More on this subject later. It goes without saying that a good place to get a reality check on your dog’s weight is to let your veterinarian help you.

He or she can also screen your pet for health conditions that can contribute to overweight or obesity. These include issues like diabetes, Cushing’s disease and hypothyroidism.

infographic dog weight

Click to view larger image

Take Matters into Your Own Hands

If you decide to go it alone, here are some key tips. Different breeds of dogs come in all shapes and sizes, so you can’t just weigh them for the answers you need for your dog’s weight loss issues. It’s best to start by checking them out by looking at their body shape and assessing their body fat.

So here we go: Viewed from above, does your dog have a waist? That is, does the body taper down after the rib cage? Can you easily feel your dog’s ribs? The ribs should have a slight covering of fat and the waist should be easily noticeable, with minimal abdominal fat. These are the visual and touch clues of a well-proportioned dog.

Many vets will tell you what most people call an average “chubby” dog is probably more like 15% overweight.

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No waist showing, an obvious paunch, and more than a lightly-cushioned ribcage means it’s time to take action. Many vets will tell you what most people call an average “chubby” dog is probably more like 15% overweight.

Here is a basic weight chart provided by a leading veterinarian. These weight ranges only provide you with a rough guide of what your pet should weigh. How your dog looks and acts is just as important as his or her actual weight. When in doubt about the best way to help your dog lose weight, it’s always good to reach out to your veterinarian for their advice.

AVERAGE HEALTHY WEIGHT RANGES FOR SELECTED POPULAR DOG BREEDS

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Beagle

18-30 pounds

Cairn Terrier

13-18 pounds

Corker Spaniel

23-28 pounds

Pomeranian

4-7 pounds

Boxer

50-75 pounds

Cardigal Welsh Corgi

25-38 pounds

Dachshound

8-11 pounds
16-32 pounds

Poodle

11-17 pounds /

45-64 pounds

Bichon Frise

7-12 pounds

Cavalier Kings Spaniel

13-18 pounds

German Shepherd

75-95 pounds

Pug

13-18 pounds

Border Collie

30-45 pounds

Chihuahua

4-6 pounds

Golden Retriever

65-75 pounds

Rottweiler

70-135 pounds

Boston Terrier

10-25 pounds

Chinese Shar-pei

45-60 pounds

Jack Russell

14-18 pounds

Siperian Husky

40-65 pounds

Bulldog

40-50 pounds

Chow Chow

45-70 pounds

Labrador Retriever

65-80 pounds

Yorkshire Terrier

5-7 pounds

Calculating Calories Helps Your Dog Lose Weight

After you’ve verified your furry friend needs to slim down, consider everything he or she eats on a daily basis. Then once you know your dog’s ideal weight, it’s time to determine the number of calories needed to feed your dog daily to achieve steady weight loss.

The first step is to outline their current daily intake of food and treats and determine the number of calories that come from ALL of their food sources. This includes those given by other family members, neighbors, the mailman, and dog sitters. Then decide how much of a reduction of food (calories) is likely needed to start a slow but steady weight loss program.

You should factor in the age of your dog and their level of physical activity when coming up with the food portion of their weight loss program. Your dog is unique, so you may be feeding him or her over 20% too much by simply following the instructions on the dog food bag or can.

A Good Rule-Of-Thumb

A preliminary “rule-of-thumb” many people use is to simply try reducing portions and calories by 15 to 20% for a six-to eight-week period, then review the results to determine next steps. The level of weight loss most dogs will experience should be predictable when fed the lower amount each day, while others may require even fewer calories.

Your veterinarian will be glad to help you determine the daily calorie level your pet needs to lose weight based on his current size, ideal body weight, activity level, and overall health. They will love you for asking and they will love you even more if you follow their advice.

Small Details Make a Big Difference

As you make decisions about helping your dog lose weight, it’s important to note that finding out how many calories your he needs each day isn’t as easy as trusting the information on their food bag. These estimates are based on average adult, un-spayed or un-neutered active dogs.

Your most important tool in the fight against a dog’s excess weight is a measuring cup. Too many people just quickly fill the bowl or roughly guess how much they’re feeding their family pet. Many dog foods contain 50-60% or more carbohydrates.

One place to start a weight loss and fitness process is by moving toward a higher protein/low carb diet. It’s good to check with your veterinarian first, as dogs with some health issues may need to go a different way.

This basic chart gives you a rough idea of where to start in terms of the average calorie intake for dogs at different weight levels. This is provided to give you a starting point in terms of how much to reduce food and calories for your dog to start losing weight safely.

DOG WEIGHT AND CALORIE RANGE ESTIMATES

10 pounds

200 to 275 calories

20 pounds

325 to 400 calories

50 pounds

700 to 900 calories

70 pounds

900 to 1050 calories

90 pounds

1100 to 1350 calories

A Brief History of Dogs and Humans

Let’s take a quick break and let our friend Grover share a short history lesson to help us understand how things between dogs and humans are the way they are:

“Way back in the beginning of our relationship with humans, we were proud and athletic wolves. Our humans tend to think they domesticated us, but all dogs know it’s really the other way around.

Back then our ancestors were competing with humans to get the food we needed. The smartest of us realized they had weapons giving them an advantage – even though they were slow and their bodies and camps had “interesting” smells.

So we started hanging around their hamlets and tents. They liked having us around as long as we didn’t bare our teeth and growl or steal food. They brought us into their camps, fed us their scraps and took us hunting with them. So rather than compete for food, we ran with them, watched and learned how to let them take care of us.”

That Was Then…Look at Us Now.

“Fast forward to today and many of us dogs have forgotten our animal instincts because we have allowed ourselves to live like our humans. They watch way too much TV and so do we. They go off to work or play and leave us in the house or yard for hours at a time. Then they are sometimes home late or too tired to go for a walk when they get there.

We are mighty animals in our hearts and smarter than our humans know, but many of us have gotten lazy along with them. I long for the call of the wild in my heart, but I am a dog who has taken the easy way out. I’ve been too smart for my own good and paying the price with way too many added pounds.”


Your overweight dog still has the DNA of a hunter, but has become used to having food and treats given to him. Most dogs enjoy running, fetching, jumping and swimming as much as they do getting treats all the time. Keep this fact in mind as your read on further.

{We are mighty animals in our hearts and smarter than our humans know, but many of us have gotten lazy along with them.}

The Best Dog Food Ingredients for Weight Loss

Let’s start with what ingredients should be in an ideal dog food for your pet. The goal here is to provide a balanced and nutritional food source while limiting calories to facilitate gradual weight loss. Most generally healthy dogs needing to lose weight can benefit from foods with the following:

  • Higher than average amounts of digestible protein - to prevent lean muscle loss
    • Look for animal proteins listed as "lamb," "chicken," "beef" or other named meat as the first ingredient – ideally not with “meal” added to the description
  • Lower calories from fat
    • A gram of fat represents nine calories while a gram of protein or carbohydrate is around four calories.
  • Higher than average fiber to help with weight loss and control blood sugar
    • Green beans and sweet potato are good examples
  • Added glucosamine and chondroitin - for joint health.
  • Added L-carnitine – helps fat metabolism, blood sugar control and lean muscle mass

One strategy proven successful with dogs is to add to or increase the proportion of canned or raw foods in your dog’s daily diet. Most of these foods are high in meat protein and low in carbohydrates. They are less calorically dense than dry food and can help dogs lose weight. Using between 25-50% wet food with dry can be helpful in this regard.

It’s also possible to achieve a good high protein weight loss diet by combining a high quality commercial dog food with low-calorie home-cooked foods. There are many options available for you.

Take a Bite Out of Calorie Creep

It’s important to note that dog food label recommendations are designed for weight maintenance and will not assist with weight loss. Following these instructions will likely lead to continued increases in weight.

To control weight, you will need to calculate exactly how many calories are in an 8-ounce cup of food you choose for your pet. Then you just need to feed your dog according to the calorie amount you’ve decided will be beneficial to your pet.

Also, if your dog is severely overweight, you might need to have your veterinarian help you design a custom weight loss program.

A dog should be fed two to four small measured portions a day. And the total number of calories for all meals (and treats) need to equal the number of calories desired for weight loss. If your schedule makes it difficult to follow this strategy, get family members to help or purchase an automatic timed feeder.

Be Careful with “Doggie Diet” Foods

You’ll find a growing number of diet or reduced calorie dog foods being sold for weight loss, but be wary. Check the ingredients and compare them to the ingredients you feel are best for your dog, or more importantly, as directed by your veterinarian. Many of these diet recipes replace meat protein with higher amounts of carbohydrate fillers.

This creates a bulky food that is lower in calories and helps your dog feel full. These diets are typically more expensive than regular dog food and many veterinarians only recommend them when extreme weight loss is needed or reducing the amount of their regular food isn't working.

These diet foods appear to work for a short time, but they don’t usually have much flavor and many increase your dog’s stool production. Over time, these products can lead to dogs who seem hungry much of the time.

Tips for Turning Dog Treats from Foe to Friend

While weight loss for your dog can sometimes be achieved by simply feeding less of his or her regular food, this can lead to having a pet that feels less satisfied and starts begging for treats more often.

Food can be seen to equal love, and people want to make their pets happy. The reverse is also true, where people receive the loving attention of their dog when treats are being given. You may discover in this process that your dog’s main food isn’t causing much of the weight problem; it can be more about the additional treats or snacks.

Food can be seen to equal love, and people want to make their pets happy. The reverse is also true, where people receive the loving attention of their dog when treats are being given.

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Let’s bring in Grover again to share this picture from the dog’s point of view:

“Okay, so I love getting treats from my humans. But if we are going to successfully fight the battle of the bulge together, it’s time to get rid of the sugar and fat-filled calorie bombs. I also like simple treats like sweet potato, salmon, blueberries or even those helping to keep my teeth clean and for reducing joint pain.

Better yet, break our treats into small pieces and give them out whenever we earn it. Here’s a big one to think about - less “guilt-treating” because you leave us home alone. And please, please, please… don’t worry if we don’t show you as much “love” once we get used to having fewer and better treats. Begging and love are not the same thing – and we really and truly love your personal attention and shared playtime and exercise as much as any treats.”

Choose Treats Wisely ​​​​​

Whatever treats you give, be sure to keep track of those additional calories. Select healthy alternatives, such as certain veggies, fruit or rice cakes and decide every morning how many your pooch is allowed. Then put this amount in a container and put a lid on it. Having a not-to-exceed daily allowance will go a long way toward an effective weight loss program for your dog.

So many of the overweight issues and recommendations from health experts shared in this guide relate to both dogs and humans. This is true with treats as well. When it’s time for a between meal treat, you and your dog can SHARE some of the same things TOGETHER. So as an alternative to highly-processed store-bought treats, try sharing baby carrots, green beans, celery, broccoli, cucumbers, sliced apples and bananas.

These naturally nutritious tasty tidbits are a healthy option for most dogs, perfect for humans and your dog will be even happier to do this with you. So while you’re trying to get both of you fit and healthy, put down the potato chips and share a carrot with your canine.

There are also a growing number of well-made natural treats available in the world today. It’s not hard to find healthy treats perfect for supporting a weight loss program and providing low-calorie energy. When searching for these treats, look to pick the ones without corn, wheat and soy, along with other fillers, by-products, and artificial colors or flavors.

In closing, don’t forget dogs understand whining can “earn them” more treats, but this will certainly add to existing weight issues. Remember, playing and exercising with your dog will help keep their minds off the subject of food and treats and help make you both healthier in the process.

Fun Exercise Tips for Both Ends of the Leash

Here we go – the topic most of us would like to ignore. The purple elephant in the room, so to speak. It has been reported over 40% of American adults do not participate in any leisure time physical activity. It’s also true over 50% of all Americans are officially overweight or obese. So, it’s no surprise our dogs are just as sedentary and are dealing with weight issues.

However, this is a problem with a fun and easy solution – and one that is without a doubt a win/win scenario for dogs and humans alike. Daily exercise is key to living a long, pain-and-disease-free life – for dogs and humans alike.

And dog owners, you’ve got a built-in, no-excuse exercise buddy when you have a dog. As few as 20 to 30-minutes of brisk walking is all it takes to boost immune function, improve cardiovascular health and reduce calories.

The health benefits of daily walks work on both ends of the leash.

Dogs & Humans – A Perfect Weight Loss Team

Sticking with a diet and exercise program long enough to see measurable results is the key to success. A study conducted by Northwestern University shows dogs and humans can work together well to gain better health and lose weight.

Three groups in the study were compared: people-only, dogs-only, and dogs-with-their-people. Participants in each group were given diet and exercise plans based on their body mass index. It shows human-dog teams are much more likely to stick with a weight-loss program.

80% of the dogs/people group completed the study while the other groups had far fewer participants complete the program. Those who were in the dogs/people group said that it’s simply more fun to exercise with their dogs and easier to keep at it.

Daily exercise is key to living a long, pain-and-disease-free life – for dogs and humans alike. And dog owners, you’ve got a built-in, no-excuse exercise buddy when you have a dog.

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A Dog’s Eye View of Playing with Humans

Let’s let Grover show you how this idea of playing and exercising with their humans looks from the other end of the leash:

“Most dogs understand humans should be exercised regularly. We start by letting our humans know it is time to take us out by fetching the leash and dropping it at their feet. Or I just go to the area where it is hanging on the wall and bark… and bark... and bark again. It might take a couple of minutes, but this usually works.

Once your human commits to the walk, you’ll need to be patient as they may need to put on shoes and a coat or sweater and figure out where they left the house keys or their phone. Then finally you are outdoors where the great smells and interesting people, animals and bugs hang out.

Some humans might have a hard time keeping up with us but that’s okay. If they dawdle or rest, you can really check out that great smell you found in the bushes or greet a new friend. When you get to the park, you can let them off the leash… er, I mean they can let you off the leash.

If they look like they are going to sit or rest, you can help them keep moving by chasing after another dog, start barking at some birds or fetch someone else’s Frisbee.

Walking together is just the start. Once our humans get into the swing of things, we’ll discover other fun activities to do together to stay fit and healthy.”

Walk, Run, or Play Today

Sounds like fun, right? Remember, your dog spends more time thinking about treats and begging when they are just hanging around and not actively doing something. Get into a regular exercise and play program and introduce new toys and games into a dog’s daily routine. It will decrease boredom, improve coordination and help them bond with your family even better.

It’s pretty much the same with humans. Being happily busy – being focused on a project, playing keep away or taking a walk in the park – keeps our minds from thinking about food.

In humans, physical activity has been proven to help with weight loss, reduce heart disease, lower cholesterol and control anxiety and depression. Many of these same benefits are true for our pets.

So, get your dog moving. Take a walk. Run. Play fetch. Swim. Climb the stairs. Provide at least 30 minutes of brisk exercise every day. The change will look good on you and your family pet.

These Genes Can Make Your Dog Look Fat

Some dog breeds are prone to obesity, while others (like Greyhounds, German Shepherds and Yorkshire Terriers) are typically slimmer. This chart outlines the dogs who have shown over the years to have more problems with weight gain.

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Small Breeds

Medium Breeds

Large Breeds

Giant Breeds

Cairn Terriers

Beagles

Labs

Bernese Mountain Dog

Dachshunds

Cocker Spaniels

Golden Retrievers

Newfoundlands

Scottish Terriers

Basset Hounds

Rottweilers

Saint Bernards

Cavalier Kind Charles

Find Your Dog’s Natural Play Preferences

So much of a dog’s behavior is linked to genetics and dogs were bred to perform some activities more strongly than others. When choosing a toy or play routine for weight loss, consider behaviors the dog is more likely to enjoy. Increasing a dog’s activity burns calories, increases muscle development and helps them lose weight. Some valuable suggestions can be found here:

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BREED

SENSE OF DUTY

GAME/ACTIVITY/TOY

HUNTING BREEDS:
Retrievers, Spaniels, Standard poodles

Retrieving game

Fetch, swimming, walking, hiking

HOUNDS:
Beagles, Dachshunds, Bassets

Scent tracking

Puzzle toys, chase or fetch

HERDING BREEDS:
Collies, Shephers, Corgis, Heelers

Protecting livestock

Flying disc, herding, agility

TERRIERS:
Jack Russles, Scotties, Staffordshires, Airedales

Pest control

Tug, digging or puzzles, obiedience

TOYS:
Pekingese, Chihuahuas, Maltese

Companions

Squeky toys, tricks and games

Slow and Steady Wins the Weight Loss Race

So you put together an excellent weight loss and fitness program of your dog. Now it’s the beginning of the third week and you are starting to feel a little impatient. Right? A well-built weight loss program for overweight or obese dogs should show them losing about 1% to 2% of their body weight each week after they’ve been at it for a few days.

It’s important to monitor your dog’s progress on a regular basis – for your sake and theirs. In order to keep your dog on track, look to weigh your dog consistently every week.

It’s pretty hard to get a dog onto a scale, so the best bet is for you to step on a scale at home all by yourself. Then step on it again while you are holding your pet. Subtract the lower weight from the larger weight to determine how much your dog weighs.

You might want to get a baby scale for more accurate readings of your smaller breed dog. And, of course, your veterinarian is always ready to help you with this task.

How Long Before My Dog Loses Weight?

Aim for gradual weight loss and expect substantial improvement to take two to three months, or even more for some dogs.

Once you’ve achieved success, it will be time to maintain the weight loss by sticking to the things that worked during the dieting phase. It might be okay to feed them a bite or two more food at this point, but keep it to a minimum. Hopefully you’ve learned a few things while working on your dog’s weight loss goals and both of you have developed some healthier habits.

Stick to these basic steps for the best ongoing results: reduce between-meal snacks and treats, get regular exercise, and control their food portions. Don’t forget to get the whole family involved in helping with your dog’s weight loss and maintenance efforts. It will be good for everyone.

Use Caution with Dog Weight Loss Supplements & Drugs

Supplements

Many overweight and/or older dogs can benefit from supplements with glucosamine and chondroitin. An overweight dog puts more pressure on their joints, which can speed up arthritis and other types of joint pain.

A glucosamine supplement provides the elements needed to produce new cartilage. Glucosamine is necessary for the production of the substances called glycosaminoglycans which, along with collagen, are the main building blocks of cartilage.

Chondroitin blocks harmful enzymes that break down cartilage in your dog’s joints. There are always low level of damaging enzymes in your dog’s joints. When injury or abnormal wear occurs, these enzymes and agents can speed up cartilage destruction. You may find these nutraceuticals inside some dog food options, generally at lower amounts than found in a supplement product. 

Share Some Supplements Together

There are also a couple of supplements that help BOTH DOGS AND HUMANS stay more fit and trim. A good example is a daily omega-3 fatty acid supplement. These fish oils deliver an antioxidant punch that can prevent some diseases, ease achy joints and encourage weight loss.

Another is L-carnitine, which has been shown to aid weight loss and promote lean muscle mass. Ask your veterinarian and doctor if these supplements are appropriate in your case.

Medicine – The Last Resort

If diet and exercise aren’t working, a weight loss medication may help, but this should only be considered as a last resort.

Many veterinarians are open to prescribing the drug Slentrol (dirlotapide) in situations when exercise and diet modification doesn’t seem to be working on its own. This drug helps to decrease your dog’s appetite and fat absorption from food.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved dirlotapide in 2007 as a veterinary medication designed as a weight loss aid for dogs. Used in conjunction with a veterinarian-approved diet and exercise program, this medication may be effective in reducing your dog's weight safely and effectively.

Slentrol must be prescribed by a veterinarian and utilized as part of an overall weight management program that includes a balanced diet and physical activity. Your vet will share dosing instructions and some side effects with you.

What’s Love Got to Do With Weight Loss?

It’s not unusual for veterinarians who put an overweight dog on Slentrol to discover there hasn’t been any weight loss on the next visit. What they usually hear from the owner is their dog wasn’t as ‘loving” or playful as they used to be without the medication.

Slentrol is given to dogs to reduce appetite and fat absorption. So it has the effect of reducing the dog’s need for food and treats. This causes the dog owner to feel less of the love and attention they usually receive from their dog.

This is one of those sad but true stories. One of the biggest barriers to a dog’s weight loss is the owner’s inability to keep at it no matter how they personally feel.

You should also know Slentrol is not an outright cure for obesity. Your dog’s reduced appetite is only temporary and will only last a couple of days after coming off the drug. Your dog will likely gain weight again if the amount of food offered is not limited and regular exercise isn’t continued.

[One of the biggest barriers to a dog’s weight loss is the owner’s inability to keep at it no matter how they personally feel.}

A final note: An underlying and undiscovered health condition may be triggering weight gain if a combined program of healthy snacks, ideal dog food, physical activity and medication don’t help your dog. That’s why consultation with a vet who can perform blood work is so important.

Conclusions: Let’s Get This Puppy Moving!

Helping our dogs maintain an ideal weight is one of the most critical things we can do to help them live long, active and happy lives. But many of our canine friends have trained us too well when it comes to food and treats. A few simple principles can help our overweight dogs lose and then maintain their ideal weight:

  1. Find a food that meets your dog’s nutritional needs in ways that control the calories the dog eats every day. Feed your dog between 2 – 4 times per day with a carefully measured amount of food.
  2. Choose healthy and low-calorie treat alternatives, such as veggies, fruit or rice cakes. Make treats smaller in size and link the treat to a reward for your dog’s activity or obedience. Decide at the beginning of each day exactly how many your dog can have. Put this amount in a container let everyone in the house know these are the only treats your dog can have.
  3. Exercise with your dog at least 30 minutes per day – ideally twice per day if possible. Make it fun for your dog and fun for yourself.

The amount of food your dog eats will likely need to be increased a bit once their ideal weight is reached. It’s important during this time to continue with limiting treats, exercising and monitoring your dog for any future change in weight. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your veterinarian if you have any concerns or questions during or after the weight loss program.

Let’s let Grover have the final say in The Ultimate Weight Loss Guide for Dogs:

“So we dogs are getting fatter – and it is affecting our human’s health as well. Just about everything shared about a dog’s health can be said for our humans as well.

I was watching TV with my humans the other day and there were three – count them, three – of those really BORING long commercials promoting hurry-up diets, expensive fitness programs and surgeries to lose weight. I’m talking about humans here, by the way.

So what is a dog to do? Most humans and dogs know in their hearts that a healthy and fit life requires a balanced diet and regular exercise. It’s so boring, but oh so true. It can be more fun if we work on it together.

So let’s do this, my humans. It might seem hard at first but we can take one step at a time together. Just imagine fitting into your college clothes again (I’ve seen you try them on a few times) and being able to jog for 30 minutes together without breathing hard. I promise your dogs will get used to eating less and exercising more if you go on this healthy journey with us.”


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We hope you found The Ultimate Weight Loss Guide for Dogs to be informative, humorous at times and always helpful. Please share your comments and suggestions below so we and other readers can learn your personal experiences and different points of view. 

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