When you notice your dog is gaining weight, it’s about time to start helping your dog to lose weight.
The role of exercise
Attack a weight gain problem by increasing your dog’s exercise.
If you go on a 25 minute walk with him each morning, gradually step it up to 50 minutes.
Spend more time playing with him in the back yard. Your dog will greatly appreciate the extra attention and you will soon notice him losing weight.
And don’t forget, the increased activity is good for your weight, and your heart, as well.
Beware of giving excessive treats to your dog
Feeding your dog excessive treats is often as much a cause of overweight as what they get in their regular daily feeding.
Small dogs are particularly susceptible to this; even just a few treats a day can cause weight gain. A rule of thumb is that no more than 10% of his daily calories should come from treats.
Regarding snacks or treats, they can be excellent rewards to use for training purposes, particularly for the absolutely critical things like teaching your dog to come when you call him.
But the type of treat is as important as the quantity. Look for dog treats that are lower in fat or calories.
Another alternative is to make your own healthy dog treats. This isn’t as difficult as it sounds.
Prevent your dog from stealing food
Sometimes dogs gain weight because they figure out how to steal food from their human friends.
It may seem funny when your dog dips into a child’s plate, or grabs food off the kitchen counter. But this can lead to serious weight gain and is easily preventable through training and perhaps child proofing cabinets and drawers so your dog can’t get them open when you’re not looking.
Weight gain isn’t the only concern here. Some people foods are absolutely toxic for dogs, such as chocolate.
Patience is important when helping your dog lose weight
In dealing with overweight dogs, remember that the problem accumulated over time and it will take time to solve.
You should gradually increase his exercise, but just as with humans, you don’t want to overdo the exercise if he isn’t used to it.
Your vet might advise you to start your dog on a food specially formulated for weight loss. You may want to make this transition gradually as well; an abrupt change in food can sometimes cause stomach upset, vomiting or diarrhea.
One pet food manufacturer recommends a 7 day transition period from the old food to the new, gradually increasing the percentage of new food from 25% to 100%.
It’s good to keep in mind that any sudden change in weight, up or down, could be a sign of a medical problem that needs veterinary attention immediately. One of the major pet food chains has a vet office inside. There’s no charge to weigh your dog to keep track of your pudgy pet’s poundage.