How to slim a dog and how to check if the dog is too fat?
In this article you will learn when we can talk about obesity, why obesity is dangerous and how to slim down a dog in a safe way.How to slim down a fat dog?
You know every 10th dog is obese, and 39% of dogs are overweight?
In my practice, I deal with animals that have an excessive body weight in relation to their normal weight. I also regret to observe that the percentage of dogs that are overweight or even fat tends to increase…
In most cases, the owners are responsible for this condition of the pet, not realizing the harm they are doing to it.
- What is obesity in a dog?
- What are the causes of obesity in dogs?
- Factors contributing to obesity in a dog
- Why we overfeed our dogs and make them obese?
- What is the risk of being overweight in a dog?
- How to check if a dog is too fat?
- When to start losing weight for your dog
- How to fight obesity in a dog?
- Fat Dog Weight Loss Plan
- Diet for an overweight dog
- Veterinary food for obese dogs
- Homemade slimming diet for a dog
- How to feed your dog? One or several meals a day?
- Sample diet for a dog weighing 10 kg
- Ingredients for a female dog's home diet, suggestion 1
- Ingredients for a female dog's home diet, suggestion 2
- What is the difference between a homemade diet and a commercial slimming food?
- Homemade cooked food
- How much does home-prepared pet food cost??
- Commercial food for obese dogs
- Slimming the dog after sterilization
- Slimming your dog and hormones
- Is it worth neutering / sterilizing a fat dog??
- Your dog's caloric requirements depend on the activity
- How to slim down a fat dog and prevent yo-yo effects
What is obesity in a dog?Feeding the dog between meals
The modern lifestyle of many people who have pets means that we have less and less time for physical activity with our pets.
It is also important to choose the most convenient form of feeding with quick and ready-made commercial food, which our pet simply tolerates or wants to eat.
We do not always think about the influence of food on the body of our animal - we are much more worried about the lack of appetite in our dog (and rightly so) than its excessive, in the understanding of many people, healthy, appetite.
The direct cause of weight problems in my patients is the imbalance of energy supply from food in relation to the demand for it.
Many owners feed their pets between meals, thus providing a constant surplus of energy, while not providing the right amount of exercise. And this surplus, unfortunately, will not magically disappear, but it contributes to the constantly growing body weight and, consequently, to obesity.
Factors contributing to obesity in a dogFactors contributing to obesity in a dog - breed
Of course, there are factors that contribute to obesity in dogs even with proper feeding.
Factors contributing to obesity in a dog:
- Breed of dog. The breeds considered to be predisposed to excess body weight are:
- Basset Hound,
- Cavalier King Charles,
- Cocer Spaniel,
- Scottish Terrier,
- Carin Terrier,
- Long haired dachshund,
- giant long-haired dogs.
- The sex and reproductive status of the dog. Most often it concerns a bitch after sterilization.
- Age of the dog. We see the greatest increase in weight in dogs up to 10 years of age, above this age, body weight begins to decline due to metabolic changes
- Metabolic disorders. In dogs with hypothyroidism, diabetes, and Cushing's disease, which apply hormonal contraception.
- There is only one pet in the house. This seemingly trivial factor means that the dog has no incentive to be active when the owner is away from home.
Why we overfeed our dogs and make them obese?Causes of obesity in dogs
Often this is due to the desire to reward the animal for a long absence with a good snack or treat.
It works on the basis of excessive anthropomorphism - we deal with the dog as with a child - we give a reward for waiting for us and not having enough time for the pet.
Another reason is the lack of adequate knowledge about the nutrition, proportions, caloric requirements of our dog depending on its age, reproductive status or physical condition.
For example, if our castrated Golden Retriever bitch tastes only puppy food and tolerates only such food and has access to it at will, then in a very short time we will observe that our little one does not fit in its favorite chair anymore and walking becomes for her quite a challenge.
Another factor that I struggle with as a veterinarian is feeding with scraps or lots of treats. Some dog owners argue it this way:
My dog is so fond of our human food and he watches us eat so much that our heart would break if we did not give at least a piece of a sandwich.
Unfortunately, this piece, given as an addition to the basic food, over time turns into kilograms, which the dog overloads…
You may be interested in some facts:
- 1 slice of bread with margarine and cheese = 180 kcl
- 1 piece of cake = 140 kcl
- 1 slice of bread with pate = 30 kcl
- 1 boiled potato = 80 kcl
- 1 slice of cheese (20 g) = 75 of the Civil Code
- 1 slice of sausage / salami (25 g) = 75 of the Civil Code
- 1 cup of semi-skimmed milk (150 ml) = 70 of the Civil Code
- 1 biscuit = 55 of the Civil Code
- 1 slice of sausage 15 g = 30 kcl
- 1 rice cookie = 35 of the Civil Code
- 1/4 apple = 15 of the Civil Code
- 1 carrot < 20 g < 5 kcl
What is the risk of being overweight in a dog?
In the case of obesity in dogs, we observe an increased risk of serious diseases.
These are among others:
- Diseases of the heart, the respiratory system (heart rhythm disturbances, hypertension, secondary heart diseases).
- Diseases of the kidneys and the vascular system.
- Disturbances in blood lipid profile.
- It makes it difficult to carry out any surgical procedures and anesthesia.
- Endocrine diseases (diabetes, hyperadrenocorticism, hypothyroidism).
- Orthopedic diseases (inflammation and degeneration of joints and ligaments, atrophy of joint surfaces, discopathies, muscle disorders).
- Decreased immunity (susceptibility to microbial infections).
- Reproductive disorders.
- Neoplastic diseases (tumors of the mammary gland, the appearance of precancerous cells).
- Dermatological diseases (allergies).
- Behavioral disorders.
It is also worth mentioning that your pet's life may be much shorter due to the above-mentioned factors.
How to check if a dog is too fat?How to check if a dog is too fat?
How to recognize obesity in a dog? The basis is an interview and clinical examination.
Most often, we compare the weight and track its height with previous measurements.
Your veterinarian can also relate your dog's current weight to a reference weight if dealing with a specific breed of animal.
During the interview, the most common problems reported by the dog owner are:
- reluctance to walk,
- frequent fatigue,
- problems passing faeces,
- skin problems, including allergies.
It is worth informing the vet during the interview about eating habits or existing diseases.
A reliable source of information are the so-called body condition assessment tables, in which several grades of assessment are distinguished. The simplest and most common of them is presented below.Assessment of the condition of the dog's body | source: Nestle / Purina
When to start losing weight for your dog
A common question I come across in my practice is:
This is when I am supposed to start losing my dog?
And unfortunately my most common answer is:
Most of them come to me dogs with a few percent overweight.
And this is the moment when by changing a few eating habits or increasing the amount of exercise, you are able to independently, with a little discipline, improve the comfort of your pet's life.
How to fight obesity in a dog?How to fight obesity in a dog?
Anyone who has ever been on a diet knows how long it is to lose excess fat.
It is no different with dogs.
You cannot lead to a sharp drop in mass by starvation. This is not only unhealthy, but also very dangerous.
When the owner with a fat dog shows up at my place:
- First, I conduct a very thorough interview.
- I perform additional tests to exclude metabolic diseases.
- Together with the owner, we set up an action plan for the next few weeks.
The aim of these steps is to improve the pet's comfort and live longer life without carrying excess kilos, but also to make sure that obesity is not caused by metabolic disorders or other medical conditions. The further procedure depends on it.
The first thing you should do is establish your target weight.
It can be determined either according to a pattern, or the most realistic or optimal, which will not be life threatening to the animal but will be comfortable for the animal.
Fat Dog Weight Loss Plan
Then we write down the next points of the plan:
- Type of feeding - will it be wet food (e.g. written home food) or commercial wet or dry food as well as the number of meals during the day.
- We determine the daily caloric requirement for the target body weight.
- We take into account specific delicacies and their quantity in the caloric demand.
- We set specific inspection and weighing dates.
- We establish a plan of physical activity tailored to the animal's abilities, age and the ability to involve the owner.
- We define the real time of realization of weight loss.
During a dietary visit, I draw the owner's attention to distinguishing between the animal's hunger and "begging" behavior.
In this way, we try to eliminate the behaviors that most often lead to the problem of obesity - i.e. overfeeding.
Establishing an exercise program must be adapted to the condition of both the owner and the animal, so that it does not aggravate problems, for example degenerative problems. Only when lowering the body weight do we try to gradually increase both the time of physical effort and its intensity.
We usually start with leisurely walks at an even pace, with the passage of time and kilograms, turning into jogs and runs.
In addition, there are stretching and muscle regenerating massages that I show in the office.
Over time, as the owner observes the results, his motivation grows and he happily reports on the progress of the weight loss plan.
Often, the benefit is mutual - together with the dog, the owner gains better condition as well as a decrease in body weight and an increase in muscle mass.
The slimming therapy of a large dog, compared to a small dog, differs only in selecting the appropriate nutritional requirements.
The situation is similar with choosing a diet for dogs with other diseases, e.g. degenerative diseases - we always choose a food dose appropriate to the age, condition and needs.
Diet for an overweight dogDiet for an overweight dog
The most important issue is not the type of diet, but its appropriate calorific value matched to the needs of your dog - his condition and appropriate body weight.
Usually caloric restriction by approx 30-35% allows you to effectively reduce body weight.
Regardless of the type of food, I follow a few rules to control the amount of calories fed:
- The feed should be weighed constantly of the same weight - measuring in cups or glasses often increases the energy supply by up to 10%.
- Sharing meals - supply 3 or 4 meals the separated food ration effectively eliminates feeding and provides the animal with a feeling of fullness, preventing begging.
- Lowering the food dose by the caloric value of the delicacies served - and I know from experience that the owners cannot give up the delicacies.
- Designate one person who is responsible for feeding the dog the meals.
- Choosing the right quality of food - dry, in case the animal gets used to this form; cooked if the owner so wishes.
Dietary supplements and pharmaceuticals, Often asked by owners expecting quick results, they are not used on the veterinary market.
Veterinary food for obese dogsVeterinary food for an overweight dog
Dietary medicated diets that are used in slimming therapy have common features, regardless of the manufacturing company - they have limited energy in the ration.
This is achieved by reduced fat content, increased protein and dietary fiber content.
The prices of such feeds vary depending on the grammage from PLN 60 for 1.5 kg to PLN 300 for larger bags of dry food.
Homemade slimming diet for a dog
In the case of arranging the so-called home diet, i.e. based on cooked products, due to the impossibility of supplementing all products, it is necessary to add some minerals and vitamins.
Supplementation depends on the health of the animal and the requirements of its body.
I mainly rely on multivitamin preparations for puppies, which contain all you need minerals and vitamins.
I also recommend the add-on zinc as a component supporting immunity, which can significantly decrease under stress such as weight loss.
When I put together diets for my patients, the basic questions I ask are:
- How old is an obese dog?
- Does the pet have a lot of physical activity?
- Is the pooch sterilized?
- Does he have an intolerance to certain ingredients?
- Whether a fat dog has problems with organ function of the kidneys, liver, or heart?
At the very end of such an interview, we come to a compromise with the owner of the ideal weight and we prepare a weight loss plan for the next weeks and months with the appointment of subsequent control visits.
If you want to slim down your dog, remember that any supplements, prizes or other snacks should also be agreed with a dietitian, because even a "light" snack may turn out to be disastrous for the dietary assumptions.
I had a case that the animal got a second, quite caloric meal from snacks / rewards, and we were still wondering why, despite the appropriate calculations, the weight did not budge. Even at times the fat dog gained weight.
How to feed your dog? One or several meals a day?How to feed an overweight dog?
The method of feeding depends on the habits of the animal.
It is much better to administer the calculated daily dose of the meal divided into 3 times a day.
This ensures the animal is sufficiently satiated and prevents overfeeding. The animal does not feel hungry during the day and thanks to this, it is easier for us to avoid stealing food or eating everything that can be swallowed during walks before the owner notices ?
However, there is a large group of animals that, when used to eating once a day, will not be able to get used to more frequent food doses.
It is really a very individual matter - such topics are also discussed during a dietary visit.
Sample diet for a dog weighing 10 kg
It is worth noting that weight loss should follow slowly, and control visits connected with weighing the dog on the diet should be made once every 1-2 weeks.
Diet for a sterilized dog:
- age: 6 years,
- moderate activity - three 30-minute walks in the park,
- no allergies to nutrients
- current weight 10 kg, target weight 8-8.5 kg
- 394 kcal per 10 kg
- 380 kcal for 9.5 kg
- 366 kcal for 9 kg
- 353 kcal for 8.5 kg
- 339 kcal for 8 kg
All products of the dog's home diet are weighed after cooking
Ingredients for a female dog's home diet, suggestion 1
- Boiled chicken breast, skinless: 232 grams.
- Barley groats, pearl barley: 3 glasses.
- Canola oil: 1 and 1/2 tsp.
- Meat and bone meal: 2 teaspoons.
- Salt used in cooking: 1 tsp.
- Multivitamin preparation: according to the manufacturer's recommendations.
- Zinc: 100 mg tablets 1/2 tabl.
Weight after preparation: 723 grams.
Kcal / gram of serving: 1, 41 kcal / g.
Taking these values into account, it can be calculated that:
- female weighing 10 kg should get 279 grams,
- female weighing 9.5 kg should get 269.5 grams,
- female weighing 9 kg should get 259.5 grams,
- female weighing 8.5 kg should get 250 grams,
- female weighing 8 kg should get 240 grams,
Ingredients for a female dog's home diet, suggestion 2
- Cooked chicken breast: 232 grams.
- Whole-grain pasta: 2 glasses.
- Red beans, canned, drained: 2 glasses.
- Chopped broccoli, cooked: 1 cup.
- Canola oil: 5 teaspoons.
- Meat and bone meal: 1 tsp.
- Salt used in cooking: 1 tsp.
- Multivitamin preparation: according to the manufacturer's recommendations.
- Zinc: 100 mg tabl 1/2 tabl.
Portion weight after preparation: 1223g.
Kcal / gram of serving: 1.38 kcal / g.
Taking these values into account, it can be calculated that:
- female weighing 10 kg should get 285.5 grams,
- female weighing 9.5 kg should get 275 grams,
- female weighing 9 kg should get 265 grams,
- female weighing 8.5 kg should get 256 grams,
- female weighing 8 kg should get 246 grams.
What is the difference between a homemade diet and a commercial slimming food?
Homemade cooked food
Food prepared at home is based on ingredients that virtually all of us have at hand.
Their characteristic feature is definitely greater palatability through cooking and also greater water content.
Unfortunately, they require the supplementation of some ingredients - it depends on the health condition and needs of a given animal.
How much does home-prepared pet food cost??
The cost of cooked food, prepared at home, it is difficult to determine, because the time spent on preparation, consideration and portioning should be added to home-made foods.
However, sometimes there is no way out because animals are unable to eat food other than cooked food.
Among my patients, and actually their owners, there are also those who simply like to cook meals for their pets.
Commercial food for obese dogs
Commercial foods for fat dogs are by far the more convenient form of administration - both dry and wet versions.
They contain a large amount of protein that gives the impression of being full.
They are also characterized by a so-called negative energy balance - that is, to digest the protein, the dog uses additional energy.
Slimming commercial foods are rich in fiber - both soluble and insoluble fiber that, by binding water in the stomach, provides a feeling of fullness for a long time.
Slimming the dog after sterilization
Some dogs have caloric requirements after sterilization is reduced by up to 50%.
This means that in order not to gain weight, the animal should receive half as much food ration from the sterilization procedure.
Unfortunately, the opposite is usually the case - the owners, who want to compensate the animal for the hardships of the procedure, even give Fr 50% more food!
Additionally, the animal is devoid of sex hormones it is harder to feel full and appetite increases significantly. This is our role, the guardian of the animal, to watch over the right amount of food.
Slimming your dog and hormones
Hormones play a very important role in regulating the body, including maintaining a healthy body weight.
They play an additional role in dogs Thyroid hormones, which affect the maintenance of the appropriate mass.
With the coexistence of hypothyroidism, it is often difficult to maintain a proper body weight in a dog.
That is why, if, despite limiting the food dose, the animal constantly has too high body weight, it is worth checking the level of thyroid hormones.
Is it worth neutering / sterilizing a fat dog??
In the case of obesity in a reproductive animal, castration / sterilization should absolutely take place, but after partial weight loss.
Obesity with the presence of sex hormones can result diabetes in females, because diabetes is closely related to the presence of progesterone in them.
Additionally, non-sterilized and obese females are more likely to suffer from purulent inflammation of the uterus and hormonal disorders.
Your dog's caloric requirements depend on the activity
|5 kg||936 kcal / day||421 kcal / day||374 kcal / day||461 kcal / day|
|30 kg||3589 kcal / day||1615 kcal / day||1436 kcal / day||1775.5 kcal / day|
How to slim down a fat dog and prevent yo-yo effectsHow to maintain a healthy dog weight?
Achieving the desired body weight in our dog does not release us from the need to follow the rules established at the beginning of the weight loss program.
The food dose should be kept in the recommended amount and physical activity should be as regular as during the program.
The frequency of follow-up visits may be lower, but constant to catch weight gain at an early stage and modify the current weight loss plan.
In my professional work, I have written slimming programs many times. So far, I was lucky that the owners were very motivated, and their obese pupils quickly regained their normal body weight.
Due to the fact that my role as a veterinarian is not to frighten, but to help the animal and the guardian, we always choose the diets and weight loss plans of the dog in such a way that both parties have a sense of the real possibility of implementing them.
Because it really all depends from you - owner involvement is the basis of success.
You want to learn more about losing your dog or composing a well-balanced diet at home? Now place a comment under the article, I will help you choose the optimal diet for your dog. I also encourage you to read the article: "How to slim down a cat? "
I will be grateful for rating the article if it has enriched your knowledge ?
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