Skip to Main Content

Tips to help with the challenge of how to get your dog to lose weight

According to the 2015 Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) Pet Obesity Survey, an estimated 53.8% of US dogs seen by veterinarians were overweight or obese.

There are a number of reasons a dog might put on too many pounds, resulting in owners like you to wondering how to get your dog to lose weight. For example, some breeds, such as Cocker Spaniels, Dalmatians and Rottweilers have a greater tendency to become overweight. Also, middle-age dogs are more likely to become overweight than their younger counterparts. Contributors to weight issues can also include the type and amount of food your dog eats, his general activity level and even your own lifestyle.

How to get your dog to lose weight begins in the bowl.
For many dog owners, food is a way of showing love—a form of love their dogs happily enjoy. So if your dog becomes overweight, helping him lose that weight can be difficult. Especially when it comes to reducing calories.

So, how to help your dog lose weight? The first answer to this question involves what, and how, you feed your dog. A visit with your veterinarian is a good place to begin. Together you can decide on a plan that features good nutrition, including a food formulated for healthy weight loss.

How you feed your dog is as important as what you feed him.
Most weight loss diets are designed to reduce daily caloric input. This traditional weight loss method, known as Continuous Calorie Restriction (CCR), can leave dogs looking for more to eat and owners looking for a different weight-loss plan. Fortunately, there is another effective approach for how to get your dog to lose weight. It’s called Intermittent Calorie Restriction (ICR), and it’s the foundation of an effective, breakthrough system from Purina® called Pro Plan® Simply FitTM.

Instead of using the CCR approach to weight loss, the Simply FitTM system patented by Purina® uses the ICR approach of varying calorie intake over time. It does this through an alternating weekly feeding schedule involving two foods—one with a “maintenance” calorie amount and one with 25% fewer calories per serving. This system encourages a continuously active metabolism, helping dogs lose body fat, preserve lean muscle mass and achieve an ideal body condition while still allowing them to enjoy the same amount of food each day.

The right food, plus the right serving.
Whatever approach you and your veterinarian decide is right for your dog, be sure to consistently follow the feeding instructions. Remember, if you feed your dog twice as much of a weight-loss diet, it’s not a weight-loss diet! Also, have patience. Regardless of the weight loss diet you choose, actually losing weight in a healthy manner requires time.

Take it easy on the treats.
Too many treats can contribute to too much weight. So, reducing calories means reducing treats—especially higher-calorie goodies such as table scraps. If you find it hard to pass up treating opportunities, consider treating with ice cubes or bits of kibble from your dog’s bowl. Or instead of showing your love with food, trade it for the real thing, and treat your dog to some extra petting and praise instead.

A little activity can get you a lot closer to your dog’s goal.
For people as well as pets, living healthy means staying active. Stated another way, learning how to help your dog lose weight might involve getting a little more active yourself. If the most exercise you and your dog get together involves walking to his food bowl, add a daily walk to your routine. Time spent strolling your neighborhood, or even playing fetch in your yard, can help your dog shed unwanted pounds and develop muscle he needs. Be sure to check with your veterinarian, and with your own doctor if necessary, before you get active—especially if exercise is not a part of your normal day.

As you can see, there are many aspects to learning how to help your dog lose weight. With the right combination, you can help your canine companion (and maybe yourself) discover benefits well beyond a more fit body.