Helping your dog lose weight

youngandtired asked how to help her B girl lose some weight on another thread.

I am going to post a few ideas here, and other can add suggestions, and opinions.

It is relatively easy to have a dog with no health complications lose weight. First rule out any health issues like thyroid failure. Then you simply cut back their food, and provide them with more activity. Dogs usually lose weight pretty quickly.

A few ground rules that I tell my clients that are trying to make their dogs smaller:

-Have set feeding times, and set feeding amounts. Pick the food up in 15-20 minutes after you set it down. That way you are controlling the amount, and have some idea of how much they are eating.

-Don't rely on what the bag feeding amounts say. Your dog might need considerably less than what it says on the bag. I would say with most food, and most basenjis, you shouldn't ever feed more than 2 cups per day…and that would be for a non-calorie dense food (store brand) and a VERY active, young dog.

-If your dog is driving you crazy when it is on a diet, try adding in different vegetables...if he is truly hungry, he will happily eat them

-Try having the dog's dinner take more time, and more energy by hiding it around the house. In the beginning you may have to say 'hey, look over here' etc...but it work on two issues at once, stretching out the meal, and giving the dog some extra activity.

-Lots more exercise...walks, vs. going out in the yard; chase games with laser pointers, or balls;

-Eliminate snacks and treats (or limit treats to tiny training treats). Also, in the case of Bs, be extra vilgilant about what the dog 'finds' around the house (this is where we fail, because Querk is always cleaning up after the kids).

So those are some ideas of where to start. I hope they help some folks. I seriously wish it was as simple for us humans, as it is for our dogs. That darn free will to eat ice cream is a killer 😉

This is GREAT information! Thank you! As a worker in a holistic pet bakery and food carrier shop, I deeply care about food and health for our pups and think these are great tips.

And actually, something I love about a lot of holistic food, is the portion control you mentioned. Because there is less "filler" in holistic food, our pups are getting more of what the NEED so they are eating less amounts at a time. It's the healthy way to go!

Thanks for your tips!

It's really funny.. Tillo is on a diet now.. and all the threads are about weight.. 😃 😉

I can't give Tillo more exercise (believe me.. he's getting enough), so I first gave him less kibble (20-25 % less than advised on the bag) and then put him back on his raw diet (same amount as the kibble, less calories, but same filling in his tummy :)) So far so good.. he already lost a pound 😉

I think we people need to remember that dogs are really good at surviving with less food and using their extra body fat.

We have always added vegetables for bulk as well as cutting back some on the kibble. Our dogs love canned green beans (no accounting for taste I guess). Most Basenjis also like brocolli.

Terry

Veggies is a great "filler"… we always started our puppies on veggies very early... so that it was a normal part of the meal... then if they needed to lose a pound or so...just increase the veggies.

About the recommendations you find on food bags... honestly... I thing it is Twice the amount then a normal dog needs... way/way to much.... and of course if it has lots of calories... then doesn't matter... it is going to put on the weigh.

And last but not least... I totally agree about set feeding times... period... they have X amount of time to eat... if not eaten... it is gone till the next feeding time.

Our neighbor once told us our Shiba was to fat and to put her on a tread mill. Our neighbor forgot to look in the mirror. O that was bad not nice sorry. It might work and then it might be more work then it was worth.

Rita Jean

Lots of people work their dogs on a treadmill… not that uncommon... especially for people in bad climates... and most dogs do quite will with it.... They even sell "doggy" treadmills, of course very pricey... just as easy to use your own

Houston

We give our dogs veggies for treats throughout the day, they love it, favorite right now…radishes..weird right?
Of course more exercise will help too.
I also believe in going more grainfree in the food, if at all possible, grains=carbs and just like it ruins our waistline if eaten too much, it also makes Fido rounder.
Quercus' ideas are great and right on in my opinion.

The reason, IMO, the kibble bags states one size serving for all (within that weight/age) is because they want you to go through the bag fast, so you have to replenish sooner..
It doesn't hurt the petindustry that we also visit the vet more often when dogs are overweight..

Radishes are great for them… my Maggii and OJ loved them!!!!

And that is a good thought about the reason for the serving size... however, most Vets now days are really into talking to pet owners about their pets weight. My neighbor got the "too fat" talk about her cat last week...gggg (she was a bit insulted... but I had told her the same thing... kitty was "way" overweight)

Houston

I don't understand why people think they are being nice to their pets when they let them get overweight or worse obese. It is extremely hard on our bodies, and little pet bodies…even worse. My father and his wife have a King Charles Cavalier spaniel (is that what they are called??) and she is like a whiskey barrel..I told them about the raw diet about 5 years ago and they tried it..with a few modifications...and the dog gained weight...WHAT? I do not understand how the dog gained weight on the raw diet..come to find our she was eating scraps still from their plates and treats and on ...and on. Poor dog. She actually wheezes when she breathes and snores like my husband when he is drunk of his rocker..LOL. and they think it is cute..oh well.

Quercus, I am so happy to get your suggestions. I will defintely get her thyroid checked, she doesn't eat that much, but she sleeps alot. I give her 1/2 cup of dry with boiled chicken that I cook for her on top, about the amount on a leg twice a day. She doesn't eat treats that often but when she does I give her bully sticks (just found out recently they have lots of calories), or 1-2 pieces of turkey 98% fat free slices in the sandwich meat dept. Like I said this is not a daily thing, maybe 2 times a week at that, she doesn't like biscuits at all, expensive or cheap. I had her on Merricks dry Grammy Pot Pie, or Turducken and I am switching her now to Wellness Weight Management. The Merricks has 3 times the fat, so I will probably stay with Wellness, only problem is she sometimes picks out the Wellness and eats the Merricks, I am mixing 1/4 Cup of each until her stomach can handle the switch. I was thinking today that if Wellness is all she gets I guess she will adjust or not eat. What do you think? I will be adding veggies, she likes broccoli, carrots (cooked ones) and green beans. Thanks again.

@AndrewnShango:

This is GREAT information! Thank you! As a worker in a holistic pet bakery and food carrier shop, I deeply care about food and health for our pups and think these are great tips.

And actually, something I love about a lot of holistic food, is the portion control you mentioned. Because there is less "filler" in holistic food, our pups are getting more of what the NEED so they are eating less amounts at a time. It's the healthy way to go!

Thanks for your tips!

I agree, Andrew. I think most dogs do better at weight loss when we simply cut back on a quality food, rather than going to a weight loss food, since as you mention, they are just loaded with fillers, rather than nutrients.

I think you meant quantity of food.

I agree that cutting back on the quantity of food is a better route than the low cal foods that are high in fillers. You can make up the bulk with healthier alternatives on your own using veggies and even just adding water to make the meal into a soup. The water makes them feel fuller so they don't miss the extra volume of kibble.

Also remember if you are feeding treats, you need to cut back on the kibble to reduce the calorie intake accordingly.

@lvoss:

I think you meant quantity of food.

I agree that cutting back on the quantity of food is a better route than the low cal foods that are high in fillers. You can make up the bulk with healthier alternatives on your own using veggies and even just adding water to make the meal into a soup. The water makes them feel fuller so they don't miss the extra volume of kibble.

Also remember if you are feeding treats, you need to cut back on the kibble to reduce the calorie intact accordingly.

+1

I usually cut down on Kananga's food on weeks where he isn't as active. He doesn't complain though as he's one to eat to live. I actually never give him treats because he doesn't show much interest in them.

It's a very basic thing to do in all honesty. Less calories burned, fewer calories to be consumed. 🙂

@lvoss:

I think you meant quantity of food.

I agree that cutting back on the quantity of food is a better route than the low cal foods that are high in fillers. You can make up the bulk with healthier alternatives on your own using veggies and even just adding water to make the meal into a soup. The water makes them feel fuller so they don't miss the extra volume of kibble.

Also remember if you are feeding treats, you need to cut back on the kibble to reduce the calorie intact accordingly.

Ooops, yeah I DID mean quantity, thanks Lisa :o

Is Wellness Weight Managment filled with fillers, or should I just keep her on Merricks, which she loves and just cut back. What do the experts think? Thanks

The Wellness Weight Management formula is actually much better than most. It is higher in grains, that is how they cut the fat content but it is very similar to their regular formula.

If Sahara really prefers the Merricks then try just cutting back the amount. The Grammys Pot Pie will make a gravy when water is added so try cutting the amount of food and substituting the volume with water so she feels full.

Houston

I always make "gravy" for my dogs..they love it and it fills stomachs..and it is free, well almost, we have our own well.

@tanza:

About the recommendations you find on food bags… honestly... I thing it is Twice the amount then a normal dog needs... way/way to much.... and of course if it has lots of calories... then doesn't matter... it is going to put on the weigh. And last but not least... I totally agree about set feeding times... period... they have X amount of time to eat... if not eaten... it is gone till the next feeding time.

Totally agree - Your eye should be your best guide to the amount your dog needs. I find Tilly puts on & loses weight really quickly - keep the same quality of food, just reduce the quantity.

Yesterday i went down to see one of the "pups" i bred - a dobermann bitch i bred 13.5 years ago (the best one i ever bred but she was never shown, just a loved pet - isnt that typical?)- when they opened the door this enormous thing waddled out - i thought it was the old girl - no, it was a 3 year old dobermann bitch they got last year as a companion for her. Honestly, she could lose 25 pounds and it would hardly show. I know she gets plenty exercise but obviously portion control had gone out of the window. So i read them the riot act - am going back next week to see if its made a difference!

when you see this beautiful dog and they are way overweight. All of a sudden my B, Sahara was 6lbs. over her ideal weight. Well, I can't have that so I am doing what I can to get it off. She already looks leaner, I think I need to weigh her tomorrow. She is getting less food, and more exercise. 😃

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