How to Put Your Dog on a Diet? (Fat Dogs Owners Only!)

According to the newest veterinary studies, over half of our nation’s pets are overweight. It indicates that almost 80 million pets are at risk for promoting debilitating diabetes, crippling arthritis, debilitating diabetes, high blood pressure, horrifying heart disease,  and many forms of cancer. It’s tough to refuse your fluffy friend with the treat when he or she gives you that sad, hungry look, but don’t forget that the question “How to Put Your Dog on a Diet?” can be of vital importance.

Begin with the following tips to encourage your dog to shed pounds and get healthier:

  • Exercise more. Exercise melts calories and decreases appetite. Take him for an additional walk or begin a game of fetch. Shoot for 15 minutes of exercise, two times per day.
  • Decrease portion size.“Reducing the number of treats given in a day greatly helps,” believes Thomas Watson, the veterinarian at Carolinas Veterinary Medical Hospital in Charlotte, N.C. “Use an actual measuring cup to measure your pet’s food, not just a cup out of the cabinet,” – he adds.
  • Feed him more frequently. “Multiple small meals are better than one large meal a day,” Watson says. That’s because it holds your dog’s blood sugar level constant throughout the day, so his body is less prone to store extra calories.
  • Don’t leave food out. Dogs don’t know much about self-regulation. Instead of leaving pup’s buffet out all day, feed your dog at specific times.
  • Pick the right food. Instead of purchasing any over-the-counter “light” dog food, ask your vet for a reference. He or she knows your pup and can decide the best ingredients and serving size.
  • Keep him out of the kitchen. Food that unexpectedly falls onto the floor can be attractive and tack on pounds. Keep him in a different room while you are preparing food and eat so he’ll be less vulnerable to take in those extra calories.
  • Remember the age-old formula. “The bottom line for pets and weight is the same as it is for people: diet and exercise,” – David Gonsky, veterinarian of West Loop Veterinary Care, says. When in doubt, follow this rule.

My dog is overweight. Is it really bad?

As few as five pounds above the perfect body weight can put your dog at danger for developing some severe medical conditions. Some of those might include:

  • heart disease
  • type 2 diabetes
  • increased frequency of joint injuries
  • osteoarthritis (arthritis)
  • high blood pressure
  • some forms of cancer

Overweight and obese dogs have shorter life spans than their fitter, regular weight pals. Massive dogs tend to interact less with their families and be way less playful. Because they prefer to lie around more, it is natural to overlook early symptoms of illness, since we may assign their lethargy to their usual laziness.

We are confident you want your pooch to be around as long as possible, so keeping him in shape is the must.

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Is Your Dog Overweight?

Here’s how to tell:
  • Feel his backbone and ribs. “If the spine and ribs are difficult to feel, the dog is overweight,” assures David Gonsky, from West Loop Veterinary Care in Chicago.
  • Check him from the side. His abdomen should be raised. A sagging belly is a sign that he’s packed with extra pounds.
  • Look from the top. Thus you should see inward curves, between his hips and the back of rib cage.
  • Ask your veterinarian to estimate your pooch’s size at every check-up. Once your canine reaches adulthood, ask for his optimal weight. As a rule of thumb,  zero to 15% above that weight is overweight; 15% and above – obese.

How much should my dog eat then?

This simple framework will aid you to recognize the amount of food you have to give your dog to maintain the pet in shape:

The first step is to calculate calories. Here’s how:

The excellent starting point is to utilize the following formula: Divide your pet’s weight by 2.2. Multiply this number times 30. Add 70. And the result is a broad idea of how many calories you should be serving a normally inactive pet weighing between 6 and 60 pounds (But of course, each pet’s metabolism is various so don’t hesitate to consult with your vet before putting your pup on a diet).

Dr. Ernie Ward believes that a pet parent’s only most significant tool in the battle against excess weight is a measuring cup. Studies from the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention demonstrate that feeding as few as 10 extra little kibbles of meals per day can add up to a pound of weight gain per annum for a small indoor dog. After you determine how many calories your pet requires, decide how much food you should serve each meal – and always measure it.

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How long can a dog go without eating?

Now you might be worried that with that new diet your dog might starve soon. Don’t worry it’s not likely to happen at all. A healthy dog can be fine without eating at all for 5 days.

If the dog is not healthy, however, or has current medical predicaments, then the time it can go without eating is considerably decreased. Amongst the other determinants are increasing activity or a change in weather. Those two massively rise energy expenditures and therefore reduce the time they can endure without food.

But you are not going to put your pet on a hunger strike, aren’t you? The diet is about cutting off some excess calories that make your dog’s life more complicated anyway. So, don’t worry about the starvation. It’s not going to happen.

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How much to feed a dog per day

There is no clear way to figure out precisely how much particular dogs should be consuming, believes Jennifer Coates DVM, Veterinarian practicing in Virginia, Wyoming, and Colorado.

Determining the right size for servings depends on the type of food dogs are fed, their daily eating schedule, servings size, metabolic rate, the amount of activity they get, and more.

To begin the process, take a look at the feeding guide on dog food’s description.

Unless stated differently, these measures are the total that is recommended for your dog within 24 hours. Most adult pups should eat twice per day (puppies usually require more feedings), so you’ll need to split the amount in the schedule by the number of meals you are suggesting.

Mix this information with your understanding of your dog’s lifestyle to get the idea of an initial amount of food you are going to give your dog. If I had an almost inactive 35-pound Corgi who tended to gain weight, I might begin with 2 cups of food per day. On the opposite, if my dog was a hyperactive 35 pound Border Collie, I would feed him more.

Next, use a system to fine-tune the amount you are serving. Check up on your dog weight every 2-4 weeks and maintain a diary of your results. If your dog is rapid/or too slowly gaining or losing weight/body fat, regulate your portion sizes accordingly.

Dog won’t eat his food but will eat treats.

That might be an obstacle on the way of a healthy diet, and it has to be addressed. The most frequent reason a dog will not eat his dog food but will consume treats or table scraps is that he is not well. And it’s often referred to as partial anorexia.

Partial anorexia suggests a dog will eat, but only if something unusual such as treats or table scraps are added to the food. Sometimes dogs will ignore everything apart of a fast-food hamburger.

According to Dr. Etienne Cote, “the reasons for which a dog may refuse to eat can be grouped into two major categories. The first is psychological reasons and the second is medical reasons”.

To fix that, Angel Alvarado, Licensed Veterinary Technician suggests to stop the treats: “Discontinue all table food. Mix in some warm water or a teaspoon of baby food into his dog food. Feed him at scheduled times and leave the food down for 15-20 minutes before picking it up, eaten or not. Provide water but do not offer any food until the next feeding time. Repeat the above process. Do not feed anything else until he is eating his own food regularly. Be consistent and be patient. He won’t starve.”

Best diet for dogs. Which one is that anyways?

The greatest explanation on the best dog’s diet is given by Todd Caldecott, the Executive Director of the Dogwood School of Botanical Medicine in his blog. The best nutrition for dogs is raw, protein-based diet.

Raw diets began with competing greyhounds and sled dogs. And later, in 1993,  Australian veterinarian Ian Billinghurst suggested these diets to family dogs. He named this the BARF diet for dogs. BARF stands for Bones and Raw Food or Biologically Appropriate Raw Food.

Dogs, like wolves, are members of the Carnivora family, which also includes mammals such as wolverines, tigers, bears, and hyenas.  Being a member of the Carnivora order doesn’t imply that all these animals only eat meat, but that it is an essential part of their diet.

A raw dog food diet features raw meat (often organ meat), whole or crushed bones, veggies, fruits, raw eggs, and dairy. Many vets and the FDA object with Billinghurst’s views.

Although it’s obvious, of course, most of the vets are going to suggest the brands that are being piled in his storeroom. Just like how the drug industry profoundly influences physicians’ practice, veterinary education and practice are massively affected by the pet industry, which values for over $55 billion in yearly sales in the US only. Still, there is no business to be made by the pet industry if you feed your dog bones and organ meats.

So, raw is one direction to look at.

However, if your dog is massively overweight, you might want to start with some other options. For instance…

Green bean diet for dogs

There is a lot of noises online, in the dog universe, and even amongst   veterinaries about the effect of the “green bean diet.” The reasoning behind the diet has some legs. Unfortunately, when applied carelessly it still may result in nutritional deficiencies. So, let’s have a look at the core of the diet and then cover different vet’s views on it.

Green bean diet for dogs in its purest form is the following: owners substitute 10 percent of their pets’ normal meal with green beans. And then the share is increased by 10 percent every 2-3 days until it reached 50 percent. This final mix is fed until the pet’s ideal weight is reached. The pet then gradually goes back to a regular diet. We covered the topic of dogs and beans in this amazing guide so you can check if the dog can eat beans and if those are healthy at all, but for now, let’s focus on this particular diet.

In a nutshell, beans provide extra fiber. Adding fiber extends meal volume with zero calories added. The feeling of fullness reduces overall consumption and calorie intake. Weight loss trials have confirmed the effectiveness of this approach. Still, a 50 percent decrease in calories could be too harsh. Putting a dog on such a program without veterinary guidance or initial lab work could result in severe health issues for dogs of any age groups, especially among those with undiagnosed diseases (heart, kidney and liver problems, diabetes, hypothyroidism, etc.).

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Dr. Debra Primovic, DVM, says that she “has been told this really works, but generally I don’t recommend it to my clients.”

Veterinarian Ken Tudor, also believes that this diet is quite risky: “Regular food is inappropriate for weight-loss patients. Although weight-loss patients are fed the calories appropriate for their ideal target weight, they still need amino acids, fats, vitamins, and minerals for their present weight”, – he explains. That can lead to nutritional inequalities and deficiencies, and dogs on the green bean diet may get the lost weight back rapidly as the result of metabolic shifts.

Although all and all green beans are great as an occasional treat for your pup. Or as the rich in fiber and vitamins filler to vary the menu of your dieting fluffy pal.  

As little as 30 more calories per day mean your pet accumulates over three extra pounds in a year. So pet treats can be easily called“calorie grenades” loaded with fats and sugars, blowing up your dog’s waistline and destroying pet’s health. Pick no-sugar, low-calorie goodies that give a health benefit, as single-ingredient treats, for instance, sweet potato, blueberry, and salmon bites or functional treats with additional bonuses such as cleaner teeth or improved mobility. For example,  low calorie from Blue Dog Bakery or 5-calorie . Whatever treats you prefer, be sure to count those additional calories.

Also please remember that treats should only account for 5-10% of your pup’s daily calories intake, the rest should come from nutritionally complete pet food.  

We’ve picked three of our all-time favorite healthy dog snacks options, and maybe your pet would also like to give those a try:

  • An absolute winner of our hearts are snacks from Pawstruck. For pups on a diet we recommend this Pawstruck’s Beef Tendons made of single-ingredient – pure, all-natural beef, free of artificial colors or flavors. Just like it should be in the world of a perfect dog’s nutrition. Those are 40 kcals per piece, but the dog’s joy will last due to snacks rich flavors and chewiness.
  • Another option we really like is the from Nutro. At only 5 calories per treat and no artificial ingredients whatsoever those are fantastic healthy snacks for any furry conscious eater. Both you and your pet will be blown away with the smell: blueberries! And the content of the product is impressive, all wholesome, nutritious foods – brown rice, oatmeal, and fruit. Your pup will devour them. Happy dieting!
  • And last, but not least –  low-cal (also 5 cal per treat) natural by IMK9. Even cranky from the diet notoriously picky eater will appreciate this peanut-butter-flavored yum. Smells great, tastes great and won’t upset your pup’s stomach even if it usually’s sensitive. And those will last.

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Best dog food for weight loss: no cooking required

So we’ve figured the best diets and steps that need to be taken to put your dog on a diet, however, if you are not much into cooking there are some quality weight-control options available. We won’t recommend going for huge brands with over bloated marketing budgets though. There are much nicer and less mainstream options on the market. Those brands really tend to care about their furry clientele and entirely preoccupied with making the nutrition formula work. As we’ve covered in the best diet for dogs section, the meat is excellent.

A high protein diet is perfect for weight loss for many reasons:

  • Leads to enhanced satiety which usually means less craving—which means it is easier for pet partners to follow the diet.
  • Combats muscle degeneration which is normal during dieting. When dogs (and people) diet, their organisms burn not only fats but also valuable muscle tissue for energy supplies. While the purpose of weight loss is to drop just fat, that is hardly the case in reality and giving your doggo a high protein food helps to protect lean muscle mass.

This higher protein, lower carbohydrate foods usually have less fiber than other weight loss recipes. Fiber is added to create the feeling of “fullness”. This often reduces food palatability and increases stool amount.

But proteins at times also comes with fats. And 1 gram of fat holds 9 grams of calorie (VS 4 calories in 1 gram of protein or carbs). Fortunately enough there are some awesome high-protein low-fat dog food options.

Here are our favorites to help your dog lose weight in the healthiest way possible:  

Product’s nutritious and delicious formula contains 16% of fat and 30% of crude protein minimum. It’s made with chicken, turkey, salmon and duck meals with some potato, spinach, parsley, peas, tapioca, etc. Yum! It also contains prebiotics for healthy digestion and no grains whatsoever. Happy dog owners reported that this product worked great even for pups with allergies and sensitive stomachs. Great catch!

Check more reviews .

No grain, no gluten, no artificial preservatives or colorants: just duck and a bit of veggie (pumpkin and peas) and vitamins. And of course, it’s high on proteins (30%) and low on fat (13%). Great for medium and large size breed as the kibble is a size of a nickel and PERFECT for pets suffering from skin issues and allergies as this is one of the best-limited ingredient dog foods out there.

Check more reviews and pricing for this option .

This one is an absolute winner in the high-protein low-carb department (the salmon option in particular): only 10% of fat and 70% (!) of proteins. Starch-Free and grain-free dog and cat foods created with the wellbeing of your dog in mind. To avoid digestive disturbances, mix with the present diet beginning at about 10% and then gradually increase proportions.

As many buyers reported, their pets will go BANANAS over this food. And the brand’s customer service is impeccable. All in all this product is the PERFECT diet for carnivores by nature, with the formula that developed to maximize nutritional value and restore doggo’s metabolic balance.

Check more reviews and pricing for this product .

Low-calorie dog food: less cooking, more weight-losing

Weight loss can sometimes be achieved by feeding less of your dog’s regular maintenance diet, and this strategy is most effective in dogs that are only mildly or moderately overweight. So for more seriously overweight or obese dogs, the calorie cut should be more strict.

For those cases, we recommend taking a look into reduced-calories dog food options. Although don’t forget that you not only have to keep an eye on calories but also make sure that you avoid potentially unhealthy ingredients, by-products, sugars artificial additives, flavors, digests, and preservatives.  

Here’s the suggested list of options to consider:

The great thing about Natural Balance is constant testing: they perform 9 safety tests by highly qualified microbiologists and chemists on every batch of food. And those are regularly shared on their website. And this particular product is extremely effective in helping your dog with weight loss efforts, even when we talking ridiculously inactive pups. As a happy corgi mama reported: “I’ve tried TONS of dog foods for my 11-year-old Corgi, she has always struggled with weight. Nothing has ever worked! She has arthritis so getting a ton of exercise isn’t an option for her. She has been on this food for about three months and is finally losing weight and looking so much slimmer!”

What’s in a cup? 10% max Protein, 26% min Fat, 7.5% min Fiber.

Check more reviews and the current price .

This is one of the least fatty dog foods available. If you have a fat dog, a low energy dog or just a dog who turns calories and fat into extra pounds, this choice may be perfect for you.

The prescriptions low-fat foods tend to be very expensive and sometimes not entirely enjoyable. And although some buyers reported that their pooches weren’t happy with the taste, some claimed that their picky eaters were more than satisfied. Anyhow, if you are looking for a low-fat option due to the weight-loss necessity or other hearth condition of your pup this variant from Eagle Pack worth consideration.

What’s in a cup? 24% max Protein, 6% min Fat, 4% min Fiber.

Check more reviews and the current price .

Nutro team is obsessed with creating recipes the dogs will love made from the clean-only ingredient. Non-GMOs, nothing chemical, nada. And this philosophy is paying off. At least judging by the health changes in Nutro-eaters lives.

As one dachshund’s mama reported after 2-weeks of the new diet: “My dog’s energy level is REMARKABLY improved & it’s obvious he feels younger and healthier. Oh, & he is losing weight at a nice healthy pace too.”  And here’s the story from the Pitbull owner: “she was 75lbs, the vet put her goal weight at 65lbs. She has eaten this food, which she loves, for three months thus far, and she is down to 69lbs.” (And she went down to 60 eventually, what a change!)  

The only downside of the product is that it’s a bit pricey. But can you put a price tag on your pup’s health?

What’s in a cup? 25% max Protein, 7% min Fat, 11.5% min Fiber.

Great formula for dogs on a diet by Earthborn! Tastes excellent, boasts with reduced fat, calories and lots of fiber from fruits and veggies like apples, peas, cranberries, carrots, blueberries and spinach that will help the dieter to feel full even while reducing caloric intake. They also have the vitamins, probiotics, minerals, and glucosamine added to the formula. So you don’t have to purchase pricey supplements. Yes, it’s a higher end brand, but it saves a lot for you in the long run.

And here’s a success story from Lab’s family. He was 25 lbs overweight at the age of 10.  And that’s what’s happened: “This formula is terrific our dog loves it and has lost about 20 lbs and is toned like a 5 yr old! He is 10!”

What’s in a cup? 25% max Protein, 7% min Fat, 9% min Fiber.

Check more reviews and the current price .

This is an excellent option for larger dogs by Eukanuba. The contents of the product are just amazing, all natural, with the chicken being the main ingredient.

And let the eaters’ stories speak for themselves: “Our 6-year-old Golden has been eating this for almost five years now and loves it. It keeps the weight off and gives him a soft, shiny coat. His breath is a little “fishy” right after he eats, but it’s not a big deal at all. We highly recommend this to anyone with a large breed dog, especially a Golden Retriever.”

What’s in a cup? 19% max Protein, 11% min Fat, 4% min Fiber.

Check more reviews and the current price .

Hope you’ll found some of the tips and recommendation in this analysis helpful and now putting a dog on a diet would be a breeze. Or at least breezier.

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