When it comes to weight loss for dogs, it can be challenging – just as it is for humans. But an overweight dog is at risk for many different types of health problems, so it’s important that you help your pet shed some pounds if they need to.
There are several things you can do in order to tell if your dog is overweight.
For example, if you feel your pet’s chest and can’t feel his or her ribs, then your dog might need to drop some pounds.
Other signs include trouble breathing, constipation or other digestive problems, a lack of stamina, and difficulty moving around without a great deal of effort.1
One of the best ways for an obese dog to lose weight is through regular exercise. Here are some simple, fun ways you can start exercising your pet, so they can get to a healthy weight – and stay there.
Why Weight Loss for Dogs is So Important
Dog weight loss is critical to keeping your beloved pet healthy. Exercise and a sensible diet are vital. An obese dog is will often be prone to suffering potentially severe medical issues, including:
- Heart problems
- Joint ailments
- Problems with blood sugar
- High blood pressure
- Skin irritation
In fact, an overweight dog is at risk of having a shorter life span than dogs who exercise on a regular basis.2
Starting a Dog Weight Loss Program
When it comes to weight loss for dogs, it’s imperative that owners talk to their vet before starting any sort of exercise program. You want to make sure that what you’re doing is completely safe for your overweight dog.
Once you get the “okay”, start exercising your pet gradually. You’ll want to consider slowly increasing the length of your walks with your obese dog. Even more importantly, you’ll need to gradually increase the intensity of your walks.
Now, the typical walk isn’t strenuous enough to get a dog’s heart rate up, and that’s a key component of weight loss for dogs. People will typically stroll with their dogs, often stopping to let their pets smell the ground or do their business.
If possible, try to keep a brisk pace for about 30 minutes. If you have a light sweat a few minutes into the walk, that’s a pretty good sign your dog is getting the workout they need.3
Other Methods of Exercising Your Dog
Walking isn’t the only effective option when considering weight loss for dogs. There are lots of fun, simple ways your dog can get the exercise they need in order to be as healthy as possible. But rather than just jump into a routine, step back a moment and put together a good dog weight loss plan.
When you’re exercising your dog outside, make sure you keep the weather in mind. If it’s extremely hot or cold, you should play inside if possible. Also, if you notice that your dog is struggling to keep up or starting to get tired, stop for a while. Then, make the next exercise routine a little less strenuous. Weight loss for dogs is important, but you don’t want your exercise program to hurt your companion in any way.
Exercising is not only a great way to promote weight loss for dogs, it can also be an excellent training tool. For example, you can use exercise to get your dog to do a better job of sitting on command.
For instance, put a leash on your dog and secure it to a tree in your yard. Jump around, cheer, or do something else that will get your dog excited and jumping around. Then, in the middle of the excitement, tell your dog to sit.
This might not work at first, but it should work eventually. You can use a healthy treat to get your dog to cooperate (more on this in a moment). The sit exercise will help ensure that your dog listens when they get too hyper, such as when you come home from the office, or running errands.4
Tag: You’re It!
While exercising is an effective tool when it comes to weight loss for dogs, working out with your pet can help you shed a few pounds, too. One exercise that can benefit you both is a variation of the child’s game “tag.”
Simply tag your dog, and then start running in the backyard. Your pet will love giving chase, and you’ll both get in a great workout. Instead of just sitting in a chair and tossing items in your yard for your dog to fetch, trying racing your pet to the toy. Once you get the item from your dog, repeat the process.5
Weight Loss for Dogs – Healthy Treats
Achieving weight loss for dogs through exercise is important. But it’s just as important to make sure your pet is eating a healthy diet. All dogs love treats, of course. Unfortunately, many pet owners tend to spoil their companions. The result will often be a seriously overweight dog.
Try introducing some healthy treats if you have an obese dog. Instead of chips, or other human junk food, give your pet one of the following healthy treats:
- Banana slices
- Apple slices
- Chunks of melon
- Slices of pear
- Plain Popcorn (Make sure it doesn’t have any oil or butter)
If you have questions about healthy treats to give your pup, talk with your vet.6
Weight Loss for Dogs: Wrapping it Up
If your dog is overweight, it’s time for action. Losing weight can help keep your pooch from developing potentially serious health problems down the line. Exercise is one of the best options when it comes to dog weight loss. Keeping up a regular walking routine, and mixing in some play at home, can be beneficial for not only your overweight dog, but for you, too.
Before you start any sort of exercise routine, however, talk with your veterinarian. They can help you come up with the best plan to keep your obese dog as healthy as possible for years to come.