Obesity in dogs: how to lose weight successfully

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Obesity in dogs: how to lose weight successfully

Since the four-legged family members should also want for nothing, they are often spoiled with delicacies – unfortunately often in excess. Up to 50 percent of all dogs are overweight or even obese, as confirmed by the Federal Association of Practicing Veterinarians. The health risks posed by being overweight are enormous. It is therefore important that dogs get rid of their extra pounds.

Recognize obesity in dogs

We speak of overweight when a dog deviates more than ten percent from its ideal weight. If it is 20 percent and more above this, it is already a disease, which experts call obesity. The best way to test whether a dog is too fat is to use what is known as the Body Condition Score (BCS).

The amount of fat on the dog’s trunk is assessed on a scale from 1 to 9. If you run your hand over the dog’s ribs, they should ideally be easily palpable. It should also have a waist in front of the hips and, when viewed from the side, show a slightly sloping belly line.

The person has to make the start

If you find it difficult to resist the gaze of begging dogs’ eyes, remind yourself of the negative consequences of being overweight: It puts a strain on the cardiovascular system and joints. Overweight dogs are more short of breath and less productive. Affected dogs can also get into a diabetic metabolic situation more easily.

Dogs do not have “feeding brakes”. Be aware that he will not change his eating habits on his own. You determine your diet.

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You have to avoid sweets. © stock.adobe.com / Igor Normann

Don’t just reduce the amount of feed

A zero diet is dangerous for dogs: it not only reduces fat reserves, but also muscles. In addition, such a radical change in feed can cause serious illnesses.

Such a radical cure only has short-term success. Due to the yo-yo effect, the pounds lost in dogs are all the faster back on their hips. The amount of feed should not simply be halved. The dog is constantly starving. In addition, there may be an undersupply of important nutrients.

The right diet for the dog

Special diets with reduced calories are recommended by nutrition experts. The fiber it contains swells in the stomach so that the dog feels full. Due to the reduced amount of calories, he still loses weight and receives all the important nutrients.

It is best to work out an individual weight loss program with your veterinarian. He also knows which health weaknesses your dog may have and what you should take into consideration from a medical point of view. In addition: He can find out whether there is an illness behind the obesity.

The diet is a success with the right food. © stock.adobe.com / manushot

Ration calculations by the experts

If you cook for your dog yourself, feed it raw or if the dog simply does not lose weight despite various attempts at diet, a ration calculation by a veterinarian who specializes in nutrition can be useful. The taste preferences of the respective dog can also be taken into account in this way.

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Also, watch out for the treats. The little treats are real calorie bombs. To get an overview, you should therefore put one treat on a plate for every treat your dog receives. At the end of the day, you’ll see how many your dog really ate. Treats should not be completely deleted when losing weight.

Lose weight with a little more exercise

Exercise also helps dogs lose weight. Take into account how overweight your dog is in order to protect its joints. Often it is enough in the beginning to walk a little faster or a few minutes longer.

Swimming can also be a good idea for water-loving dogs because it can burn so many calories.

The diet is a success with the right food. © stock.adobe.com / manushot

Step by step to success

Check diet success regularly by weighing your dog weekly. As a rule of thumb, the dog should lose around one to two percent of its body weight in a week. For a dog weighing 20 kilograms, that’s an average of 200 to 400 grams.

Don’t lose patience if the fat is slowly disappearing. Depending on how much your dog has put on, it may take a few months to lose weight. So don’t lose heart!

The desired weight has been reached

If your dog has lost enough weight, you can continue to feed the diet food or mix it with normal food for a while before your dog switches back to normal food completely. Important: Don’t fall back into the previous pattern now and keep an eye on your dog’s diet.

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