Maintaining a dog’s ideal weight is one of the most important things we can do to help our dogs live long, active and happy lives. Currently 25-30% of dogs in the U.S. are overweight. As owners, if we adopt a few simple principles, we can help our overweight dogs lose and then maintain their ideal weight.
Limit calories while meeting nutrition requirements. Most healthy dogs can benefit from foods with:
Increase the proportion of canned and raw foods in the dog’s daily diet. Feeding only canned or raw foods has been shown to help dogs lose weight.* A ratio of 50% wet food to 50% dry works well, but as little as 25% wet food can be beneficial.
Limit the dog’s access to food for other animals in the household. Overweight dogs are usually experts at scarfing up cat food and any leftovers from other dogs in the house. Consider putting cat dishes out of reach of the dog. In multi-dog households, try feeding each of the dogs in separate bowls, out of sight of each other. Pick up the food bowls after 15-30 minutes, even if food is left.
Studies show that owners of normal weight dogs play with their dogs more often than owners of overweight dogs.
Find their play preferences: When choosing a toy or a play routine for weight loss, consider behaviors the dog is more likely to enjoy. Some suggestions:
|Breed||Sense of duty||Game, activity or 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, Shepherds, Corgis, Heelers||Protecting livestock||Flying disc, herding, agility|
|Terriers: Jack Russells, Scotties, Staffordshires, Airedales||Pest control||Tug, digging or puzzles, obedience|
|Toys: Pekingese, Chihuahuas, Maltese||Companion||Squeaky toys, tricks and games|
Increasing a dog’s activity burns calories, increases muscle development and helps dogs lose weight.
Dogs make good workout partners. A recent Northwestern University study indicates that dogs and people can help each other lose weight.
Limit extra calories from snacks and treats. As a rule, no more than 10% of the day’s calories should come from treats, leaving 90% or more of the calories from nutritionally balanced food
Please visit any of our stores, we’ll be happy to help you help your dog or cat.
We’re not veterinarians. Mud Bay staff are well educated, and our writing is well-researched, but neither the advice of a Mud Bay staff member nor reading Mud Bay's written materials can substitute for visiting a veterinarian. We offer carefully chosen, natural solutions, but we believe that veterinary conditions should be diagnosed and treated by professionals.