Useful Tips

How to lose weight a dog: the selection of nutrition and physical activity


This article is co-written by Pippa Elliott, MRCVS. Dr. Elliot, BVMS, MRCVS is a veterinarian with over 30 years of experience in veterinary surgery and the treatment of companion animals. She graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1987 with a degree in Veterinary Medicine and Surgery. He has been working in the same animal clinic in his hometown for over 20 years.

The number of sources used in this article is 14. You will find a list of them at the bottom of the page.

In dogs with excess weight, life expectancy is significantly reduced. Overweight dogs are more susceptible to diseases, namely diabetes, heart problems, cancer, and other ill health. Carrying excess weight, a full dog puts additional stress on his joints and spine, which can lead to arthritis. If your dog is overweight, then in her best interests, as well as in yours, take care of her speedy weight loss.


When feeding with dry food, it is impossible to allow that the nutritional granules constantly lie in a doggie bowl.

Dogs do not know a sense of proportion in food. They eat out of boredom, in a state of food aggression, due to malnutrition in puppyhood.

Naturalness also requires a calorie calculation. Encouragement in the form of sweets, sausages, tasty pieces from your table leads to the deposition of fat in the sides of the pet.

Lack of movement

Active dog breeds (beagle, yorkie, dachshund, spaniel, labrador and others) need long walks. Without daily running, active games, overcoming obstacles, they become discouraged, longing, quickly gaining excess weight.

Wrong - take the pet out to the street only to cope with its natural needs. Another mistake is the constant wearing of dwarf spitz, toy terriers, and chihuahua on their hands.

1 - Overfeeding

The most common reason is overfeeding. It’s easy to deal with.

Determine the rate of feeding four-legged at a time (if it is difficult to do it yourself, consult a veterinarian). Do not give your pet during breaks between feedings any additional treats.

2 - Sedentary lifestyle

If your dog’s walks are on a leash and you don’t have the desire or ability to run with her, it’s clear that such a motor “activity” is very fatal.

Play the ball with the four-legged friend, learn the command "give a paw", give the opportunity to frolic with kindred - this will burn extra calories and allow him to maintain a "athletic form".

3 - Breed Predisposition to Obesity

Yes, for some doggies nature itself ordered to eat little and move more. Obese dogs include:

In this case, the first two points must be observed: do not overfeed, keep a moving image. If the pet is still gaining weight, contact your veterinarian for a diet.

It is very simple in 2 -3 months to ease the life of a four-legged friend and save him a couple of kilograms. It is enough to feed him 2 times a day (and not 4 - 5) and walk him correctly.

Play with your pet, run, and not just walk around the house. Then the extra calories will definitely go away.

Fullness in a dog - the main reasons:

  • binge eating,
  • disturbances in the endocrine system of the dog,
  • the presence of parasites
  • lack of physical activity and a sedentary lifestyle,
  • improper diet
  • genetic predisposition to completeness in some breeds.

This article does not have complicated and expensive tips; they are available to absolutely anyone, even very far from sports everyday life and fitness halls. The main thing is not to lose weight, but to rebuild the dog’s lifestyle and revise its diet!


The main factor in weight gain, in addition to the characteristic of urban animals inactivity, is nutrition. For dogs sitting on dry food, one must carefully select its composition. Many owners make the mistake of focusing on the dosages given on the package of ready-made dog food. This is not true, only approximate theoretical norms are given there, it is necessary to focus exclusively on the condition of the animal, the loads received, risk factors in terms of obesity, such as castration, adulthood, as well as living conditions (apartment, aviary) and time of year.

The composition itself is no less important, the more cereals and ballast fillers in the feed, such as corn gluten, yeast, beet pulp, wheat, yeast, the faster weight will be gained. It is also important to control the ratio of protein, fat and carbohydrates in the feed. If you want your dog to lose weight, choose lightweight foods, with one type of high-quality protein - lamb, deer, duck, salmon, a minimum of cereals and enough vegetables in the composition. A good example is Barkin Heads “Losing Fat”, GOU “Lamb with Brown Rice”, etc. Do not take diets, but make sure that the protein, and most importantly the fat, does not exceed the ratio: 22-24 / 12-13%.

For medium-large breeds, it is sometimes better to replace several feedings per week with raw meat, cottage cheese, sea fish or kefir. Daily in small quantities give vegetables, unsweetened fruits and greens.

On a natural basis, you should abandon cereals, increase the proportion of fresh vegetables, especially those that contribute to the normalization of the intestines and fat burning - white cabbage, beets, squash, pumpkin.

Reduce your usual daily diet, but not right away, but by 1/4. Feed your dog as fractionally as a puppy, breaking up the usual daily portion into 3-4 feedings. Make sure that a dog who is overweight receives no more than 30 calories per day per 1 kg of weight!

Completely remove from the diet foods rich in simple carbohydrates bread, cereals, pasta. Under normal tolerance, replace one of the 3 feedings with low-fat kefir. Enter one fasting day per week when the dog will receive nothing but kefir and a small green apple or fruit salad. Reduce the fat content in the diet, choose leaner meat, low-fat sea fish, refuse fat trimmings, beef cheeks, udders and chicken hearts. More often, give a black unpeeled scar, flank, choose cottage cheese no higher than 3.5%, and take kefir 1-2-5%, do not give completely non-fat products.

Regulate the portion of food, depending on the load on this day and time of year. Reduce the portion in the heat, add in the winter, feed the working and aviary dog ​​more satisfyingly than the couch potato. Enter more raw meat, not fatty varieties of sea fish, low-fat cottage cheese and kefir, vegetables. Add to your diet flaxseed oil - not more than 1 teaspoon, herbs, for example young leaves of nettle and dandelion, sea kale. Bran is also required as a source of coarse dietary fiber.

Remove foods such as cheese, udder, cheeks, red fish (temporarily), butter, milk, bananas, cream, all kinds of bakery products, potatoes, legumes, human baby food and canned foods from your diet, temporarily refuse to take vitamins. Regardless of the type of food, the diet should not have food from the table, purchased treats, soups, no fried food!

To regulate metabolic processes in the body, you can add L-carnitine to the diet, and in the morning feeding - a probiotic, the same “Narine” or “Lactobifadol”. It is very useful to give fresh curd whey.

A great way to temporarily transfer all food to the street and feed only for work and good behavior. Do not be afraid of the danger of inversion, as you will feed food in small portions, but do not forget about the break and always carry water with you.
Naturally, you should not run cross after this!


In addition to all these factors, you must check the dog’s health. In general, this should be paragraph 1 on our list of recommendations. The smooth functioning of the pancreas, a sufficient amount of enzymes, the acidity of the gastric juice, the state of the gastrointestinal tract, thyroid gland and hormonal levels are very important.

There is excessive completeness associated with sterilization of the animal and an improperly selected diet, insufficient loads, the dog can begin to lose weight first, and then gain weight after a false pregnancy, weight can rapidly increase due to hormonal malfunctions and problems with the thyroid gland.

All this must be carefully checked. Sometimes, we can not choose the right food or diet for the needs of the pet. In this case, you should seek the help of a dietitian or a breeder, and look for the answers yourself in competent articles and books on nutrition. To be able to correctly compose a diet or find your own food, focusing not on advertising, but on the needs of your pet.


Of course, a lot depends on the breed, individual characteristics and age of the animal. However, being overweight harms absolutely any dog!

A dog in normal condition has easily palpable ribs when applying a palm and lightly pressing, when viewed from above, there is a pronounced waist, a tucked up stomach, wrinkles should not hang anywhere, taking into account the breed, the dog should have a good muscular relief.

When overweight: the ribs and vertebrae are not palpable, the waist is not visible and the dog’s body looks like a zucchini rather than a guitar, the rounded abdomen is lowered to or below the chest level, wrinkles form on the nape, and suspensions swaying on the chest and neck when walking.

What threatens overweight and obesity in a dog?

  • An increase in the load on the joints and, as a result, diseases of the musculoskeletal system in the future.
  • Endocrine system malfunction, predisposition to atherosclerosis and diabetes, increased cholesterol.
  • Heart and blood vessel problems.
  • Malfunction of the liver, fatty hepatosis.
  • Violation of fat metabolism in tissues and skin.
  • Decreased dog immunity.
  • Increased risk of complications from surgery and anesthesia.
  • Reducing the dog's lifespan ...

In conclusion, I want to say. Often, being overweight is hereditary - a genetic problem. And the Labrador will never resemble a poglu.

However, eating habits, the culture of eating food and the necessary level of physical activity are laid by us. The dog will adapt to you and your lifestyle.

Take a more responsible approach to the choice of breed, taking into account your lifestyle, do not sit for a long time in the blank quarantine in four walls, spend more time with the puppy in the fresh air. Gradually accustom him to overcome all great distances. Do not overfeed it, while it grows and develops and should be a little thin, do not listen to the “experts” in the yard, terrified by the terrible thinness of your dog, trust only the opinion of a doctor, an expert on breed and a breeder.

The habit of overeating, laid down in childhood, will remain with the dog for life. Carefully monitor and timely wean the puppy and adult dog from tapping at the table and picking up on the street. Wean from this habit and relatives! The dog should always move slightly hungry from the bowl. Recently, the problem of cultivating the image of overfed show dogs and "couch companions" in many originally working breeds has been growing recently, but this is a completely different story.

Health to your ponytails!

The article uses the materials of Irina Vidus.

Sterilization and castration

After surgery, the animal instinct is dulled. And the dog directs all unspent energy to search and eat food. In addition, surgical removal of the genital organs leads to a significant slowdown in metabolism.

Therefore, without changing the diet, the pet will gain weight. Especially if, due to guilt or pity, the owner will feed the dog.

Hormonal disorders

Hypothyroidism reduces the production of thyroid hormones. As a result, metabolism slows down, fatty tissue is deposited.

In Itsenko-Cushing's disease, the adrenal glands intensely produce glucocorticoids. The pet's appetite rises, he eats much more than his body needs.

In addition, some dog breeds are prone to gain weight (pugs, sheltie, basset hounds).

The danger of obesity

Excess weight affects the functioning of the cardiovascular system. The heart has to work for wear, pumping more blood. The situation is complicated by hypertension and plaques inside the blood vessels that appear due to the intake of fatty foods.

In overweight dogs, motor activity decreases. They become prone to injuries, fractures, overheating. Due to the increased load, obese dogs develop dystrophic processes in the joints, cartilage, and bones. Arthritis, arthrosis, ligament ruptures are common diseases of obese pets.

When overeating, the load on the work of the liver, pancreas, bile ducts increases. Pancreatitis, fatty degeneration, cholelithiasis is diagnosed in every third dog with obesity.

How to identify a problem

Owners see their dog every day. If the pet is gaining weight gradually, it is difficult for them to determine the moment of the initial stage of obesity. But such changes are clearly visible to the veterinarian, groomer, guests. Therefore, it is worth listening to their opinion on this matter.

It is necessary to lose weight for a dog whose ribs are not palpable. Obesity can also be determined by appearance. When viewed from above, a dog’s waistline should be visible, indentations above the front legs. When examining the sides of a healthy dog, a transition from the chest to the abdomen is noticeable.

Weight loss plan

A veterinarian can detect obesity and help your dog lose weight. First, he takes a blood test for hormones, and then draws up an individual weight loss plan. It includes a diet, recommendations on the time and intensity of training, the appointment of nutritional supplements to enhance the health of the pet.

The owner must daily add to the table the calorie content of daily food, the duration of the walks, and the weight of the animal.

To weigh, stand on the scales with a pet in your hands and without it, and after that - write down the difference. Visit your veterinarian monthly to monitor your dog’s condition. If necessary, adjust the weight loss plan.

If the dog is healthy, but losing weight is very slow or the weight is frozen in place, the veterinarian prescribes nutritional supplements for him. Their action is:

  • decreased appetite
  • blocking the absorption of starchy substances,
  • accelerate metabolism
  • replacing sugar, fat with low-calorie components.

Such drugs can accelerate weight loss without feeling an acute hunger.

Power Features

First of all, it is necessary to explain to the household how dangerous the obesity of the dog is. Make sure that they do not feed the pet in secret, follow the general plan for losing weight.

In order for the Yorkshire Terrier, Dachshund or dog of any other breed, which is on natural nutrition, to lose weight, it is necessary to review its diet. Remove from it fatty varieties of meat and fish, sweets, white bread. Use vegetable mixes as a side dish, and instead of sweet rewards, pieces of crispy carrots, apples, biscuit cookies.

Transfer your pet to overweight adult dog food. It has a reduced calorie content, but is rich in fiber. As a result, the granules are digested for a long time, leaving a feeling of satiety for many hours. Make sure that the product is super-premium (Royal Canin, Hills, ProPlan). Such food does not cause allergies, consists of high-quality components, enriched with vitamins.

Physical exercise

Simultaneously with the transition to dog slimming food, it is necessary to increase the physical activity of the dog. Veterinarians recommend a sense of proportion.

You can’t force a pet to run after a bicycle, jump stairs, overcome obstacles. Their weak bony and muscle apparatus is not able to do this. Such exercises can lead to injuries, paralysis of the limbs.

For dogs with excess weight, slow but long walks are useful. Try to pick up small doggies as little as possible, keep up with the speed of walking of large pets. Take the animals out of town. New smells and sounds will make them forget about laziness, discover and explore a new area. It is good to lose extra pounds while swimming in ponds, running through fields, meadows, parks, squares.

It is much more difficult to lose weight Spitz, Shepherd, Pekingese and dogs of other breeds of advanced age. It is difficult for them to abandon the usual diet. And increased loads are strictly contraindicated for them. Such doggies need to increase the number of meals, and at the same time gradually reduce its volume and calorie content. To improve digestion, give older pets more steamed vegetables, fruits, dairy products.