I Don’t Know How to Help My Dog Lose Weight

I don't know how to help my dog lose weight

Dear Hindy,

I desperately need advice on how to help my dog lose weight. I was in the park recently, and a very rude woman told me my dog’s back looked like a table, than chastised me for allowing him to get to that state!! When I told a couple of people I know about that horrible encounter, I expected sympathy but instead they all agreed with her and had been afraid to tell me! I have since learned it can be very bad for their health, so please help me help Frank!!

Thank you,

Sharon

I don't know how to help my dog lose weight

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Dear Sharon,

First I want to thank you for reaching out, and then I want to say don’t beat yourself up! What’s important is that you’re doing something about it starting right now. I don’t know how much or how often Frank eats, or how much exercise he gets so I’m going to write a few points to get you started.

I recommend you have your dog checked out by the vet if it’s been awhile. You want to know how his overall health is, current weight and the ideal. Most practices have a free weight loss clinic so ask if they offer that service. 

I am not a fan of leaving food out all day for dogs to graze on, so I would make a schedule to feed him twice a day. In terms of the type of food he’s eating that’s a book in itself, but I would recommend you find a food with limited ingredients you can actually identify! There are lots of FB groups about nutrition and homemade diets you can check out. 

Treats are fine but within moderation and if they’re good for him. How about a piece of raw carrot or apple (without the seeds)? There are tons of super simple homemade dog treat recipes on Pinterest you could try.

I don’t know Frank’s age or his level of mobility, but typically dogs need about 3 walks a day, and they should be at least 20-30 minutes, longer depending on the type of dog and his needs.  You may only be able to walk him 5 or 10 minutes at a time, and that’s okay you’ll get there. 

Dog activity monitors

There are a couple of dog activity monitors you may want to check out, in case you think they will be helpful. I don’t have any personal experience with them but it seems like they would be worth looking into. One is the PitPat  and the other is called FitBark2 

Hope this helps!!

Hindy

 

 

 

Hindy Pearson
I am a dog trainer and behaviour consultant, specialising in working with first time dog owners. Whether you're thinking of getting a dog and aren't sure if it's the right time, or you've been sharing your life with one for awhile but there are issues you can't resolve, I am here for you. No matter where in the world you live I can help.

16 Comments

  1. Ruth Epstein

    Hindy great post and thank goodness I do not have that problem with Layla but then I monitor her treats and I do free feed her, leaving the food out for her to eat when she wants. It has worked for her and easier for me as I work odd hours. As for walking, she goes out at least 3 to 4 times a day depending on the weather.

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      You take too good care of Layla for her to ever have a weight problem! If free feeding works, that’s great. I used to free feed when I first had cats, but when I adopted one who was neglected and practically starved she would eat everything in sight. That’s when I had to start feeding set meals, than new cats I adopted had issues so I ended up with 5 food bowls, each with their name on it because everyone had something different!

      Reply
  2. Michelle & The Paw Pack

    Keeping our pets at a healthy weight is SO important! I think it can be hard these days especially because a lot of people don’t even know what a healthy weight for a pet looks like. We get so used to seeing overweight pets it’s become the new norm. I work hard to keep my boys fit.

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      I think you’re absolutely right – overweight pets are the new norm so people don’t even realise there are just a lot of fat pets around. Sad.

      Reply
  3. Holly/Emilia

    Having that “your pet is overweight” conversation is one of the hardest to start in grooming or pet retail. But potentially one of the most important for the pet’s health and well-being.

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      Sounds like you’re in the perfect position to start a conversation, but I know how lightly you have to tread. It’s surprising how many people don’t even realise their dogs are fat. I’m sure you’ve had to become quite the diplomat!!

      Reply
  4. Beth

    When we adopted Theo he is quite overweight! His previous family used to feed him table scraps after dinner. We used some of the same tips you shared to help him get to a healthy weight.

    One thing that caught me by surprise was as he lost weight, he was able to jump up and grab things off the counter. I think that is an important thing for people to be aware of as they help their pets become more healthy.

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      You’re so right, once a dog has lost weight, is feeling better and more mobile you may notice a mischievous side you never saw before!!

      Reply
  5. The Dash Kitten Crew

    Great and valuable post and some excellent advice. Nothing too complicated involving running around like a headless chicken and worrying.

    I like the two meals and walks idea. Sort of a “Two and Two a Day” will get a dog owner on track with low stress. Food is often constrained by budgets but some good food twice a day of ANY kind will be fine – right?

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      That’s one of the main reasons I like the question and answer posts – so easy to follow and implement. You’re right, budget can definitely be a factor but there are lots of ways to improve the quality of a lower budget food.

      Reply
  6. Jana Rade

    Let’s not forget that there are health conditions that also cause or contribute to weight gain. So it’s best to confirm or rule out those first.

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      Absolutely true which is why I mentioned seeing the vet for a health check as a first step.

      Reply
  7. Sweet Purrfections

    Great post! I’m lucky that my cats don’t overeat, so I’m able to “free feed” throughout the day. I even split one small can between the two of them and they don’t eat all of it.

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      You’re lucky because it can certainly be easier.

      Reply
  8. Dorothy "FiveSibesMom"

    Talking about and paying attention to a pet’s weight is so important and it’s wonderful to have this conversation open up. Your advice is great to her, staring right with having her dog seen by a vet to rule out any underlying causes. It amazes me that folks still don’t understand that an overweight dog can be detrimental to their health! I feel bad when people are rude, there is no need for that…but I am glad she sought you out for advice. I know my Gibson gained 20 pounds when he went on his epilepsy meds, and it concerned me so…it took two years and constant attention to his meals and and lots of walks all led me to getting him back to his fit 98 pounds!

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      I imagine it must have been tough for Gibson, and you when weight gain was a result of medication. It amazes me as well, just like the risks to humans who are overweight, the same can happen to our animals.

      Reply

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