Maintaining one’s good health and right weight is an issue among dogs. Unlike adult dogs, a diet is typically not needed by puppies. However, if you’re planning on restricting your growing puppy’s nutrition, consult your vet first to avoid the risks of health problems.
Slimming dogs down
Slimming down a moderately overweight puppy is a simple process. First, reduce the treats you’re giving him and avoid giving him food in between meals. Second, increase his play sessions.
Measure the amount of food that you’re giving your puppy. Avoid giving him a bowl full of food for him to consume all day. There’s also no need to follow the package guidelines strictly. You can customize what you’re giving your puppy, depending on his need.
For an overweight adult dog, reduce his calorie intake. This may involve diluting calories with water, replacing fat with indigestible fiber, or inflating the product with air. These are usually not appropriate for young puppies so make sure to consult with your vet first.
Be careful with “lite” formula foods too. This too can make your dog gain weight if he is overfed or if it’s a different brand from your dog’s original diet. The term “lite” only means that it has lower calories compared to the regular food of that brand. For instance, “Lite Brand X” may have more calories compared to “Regular Brand Z”.
There are also some pets that eat more of the diet food to compensate for the lost calories. Therefore, it’s still best to measure the amount of food you’re giving your dog even if it’s a lite formula.
Feeding schedule adjustment will also help a lot. Give your dog five small meals daily so he won’t feel deprived. This also tends to increase your dog’s metabolism. Switch to twice a day meals once your dog has already reached his target weight.
For dogs that are extremely obese, other than supervision from a vet, a specialized therapeutic diet is needed. There are therapeutic foods that increase protein, helping the dog burn fat. There are also those that regulate the dog’s natural insulin level, readily burning calories rather than storing them as fat.
There is a variety of choices for reducing a puppy’s diet. It would be best to consult with your vet to know which one suits your dog’s needs.
Exercise is a big part of your dog’s journey to achieve his target weight. Ideally, puppies and adult dogs should have twice a day exercise of 20 minutes. This may be a challenge if your dog is already obese though.
Take things slow and adjust your dog’s exercise to his level. Walk your dog on-leash to build his stamina up. Walk him for about 10 minutes in the morning then another 10 minutes in the afternoon. Gradually add 5 minutes to his walk each week then increase the pace and distance once he’s already able to walk for 20 minutes.
Making your dog work for his food is also a good exercise. Put his food up the stairs, so he has to go up. If your dog is unable to navigate the stairs, put his food on a chair. Just set up a ramp so that he’d still burn a few calories. You can also put his bowl across the house, away from his bed for him to move.
You may still give your dog some treats every once in a while. Give your dog puzzle toys or commercial treat balls. Put some treats in the ball, so your dog will work to get his food.