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Dog too fat: how to lose weight

It is well known that love goes through the stomach. So it’s no wonder that many dog ​​owners find it difficult to resist their dog’s dachshund look. And let’s be honest: one or the other treat in between has never harmed a dog, has it?

Snacks and treats should definitely be deducted from the daily feed ration. If the animal consumes too much energy as a result, it leads to obesity in the dog, warn animal nutrition experts. And indeed, many dogs in Germany are too fat. The dog has to lose weight, is the recommendation.

Obesity in dogs – a health risk

Never before has pet nutrition been dealt with as intensively as it is today. Nevertheless, there are more and more cases of obesity in dogs, even to the point of obesity. Diet is not always to blame. Obesity can also be an indication of a metabolic disease such as an underactive thyroid.

Obesity poses significant health risks in dogs and can lead to diabetes or joint diseases. Studies also show that the life expectancy of dogs of normal weight is on average one to two years longer than that of overweight dogs. Reason enough to pay attention to the dog’s weight and drop the pounds if the dog is too fat.

Dog too fat? This is how you can tell

In order to know whether the dog is too fat, you first have to know what the ideal weight of the dog looks like.

Ideal dog weight

  • Slight fat pads can be seen on the stomach and bottom
  • Ribs are not visible, but can be felt with light pressure on the chest
  • Seen from above, a waist can be seen
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BMI in dogs: calculate ideal weight

It is not so easy to calculate a BMI (Body Mass Index) in a dog and deduce from it whether he is too fat or not. Because the formulas do not take into account the differences between the individual breeds and the age of the dog. Likewise, the calculated values ​​do not allow any conclusions to be drawn about the dog’s fat and muscle percentage.

A formula that can provide an initial indication of whether a dog is overweight or not is the so-called Weight to Height Ratio (WTH). This is used to calculate the ratio of weight to height (shoulder height). The formula is:

(Body weight in kg / 0.45) / (shoulder height in cm / 2.54) = WTH

A value above 3 can indicate that the dog is overweight. Please note, however: This value is only a guideline! If you suspect that your dog is too fat, contact the veterinarian!

When is the dog too fat?

If the dog exceeds the ideal weight by 10%, it is too fat. If it exceeds it by 20%, it is already obese. In both cases the dog has to lose weight.

Dog has to lose weight – but healthy!

If your dog is too fat and needs to lose weight, seek advice from a veterinarian. He can rule out a metabolic disease and create a diet plan. The following applies to healthy weight loss:

  • Under no circumstances should the dog be put on a zero diet
  • Do not reduce the amount of food you are used to overnight (deficiency symptoms are possible!)
  • Feed special food with a low energy density (diet food!)
  • Strictly adhere to the veterinarian’s feeding recommendations
  • Support the diet with more exercise (if joint diseases are excluded)
  • Check the weight regularly
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Info: Special diet foods have a reduced fat content with a higher proportion of protein and fiber. This is how the body breaks down fat and not muscle mass. Diet food is available from specialist retailers, the vet or online.

Tip: don’t rush anything! Losing weight slowly is healthier and more sustainable for the dog. An overweight dog should lose one percent to a maximum of two percent of its body weight per week. A diet for dogs that are very overweight can therefore be lengthy and last 16 to 20 weeks.

Which dogs are prone to obesity?

There are dog breeds that are predisposed to being overweight. These dog breeds include:

  • Labrador
  • Golden retriever
  • Cocker spaniel
  • beagle

Even neutered dogs and elderly dogs tend to be overweight, as the metabolism changes after neutering and with increasing age.

If your four-legged friend belongs to the vulnerable group, regular weight control is essential. In the case of neutered dogs and seniors, it is also advisable to switch to a special food in order to counteract weight gain. It is best to get advice from your vet.