8 Ways How to Help Your Dog Lose Weight

Filed in Dog Health by on November 8, 2021

Ways How to Help Your Dog Lose Weight

Is your dog carrying a few extra pounds? According to recent studies, more than 50% of dogs in the United States are considered overweight or obese.

While those extra pounds may seem harmless, obesity can have many adverse effects on your pet’s health.

To get your dog back in shape, let’s take a look at 8 ways how to help your dog lose weight.

Note: this article was written by a veterinarian, although the advice is general in nature and should not be taken as advice specific to your pet.

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8 Ways How to Help Your Dog Lose Weight

1. Know Your Pet’s Calorie Requirements

Just like humans, the most common cause of obesity in dogs is overeating. To prevent this, it’s essential to know how many calories your pet should be consuming per day.

While this may seem like a daunting task, there are many resources available to help you determine your pet’s needs.

The first option is to use this helpful link provided by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention. This site offers a helpful chart with average daily calorie requirements for dogs based on their weight.

It’s important to remember that in order for your pet to lose weight, they’ll need to consume fewer calories.

Luckily, there are additional charts to help guide you through this process. The weight loss chart provides calorie requirements based on your dog’s ideal body weight.

If you’re unsure about how many pounds your dog needs to lose, you may want to consider a trip to your veterinarian. Your vet can help you determine your dog’s ideal weight and how much they will need to lose to get there.

Veterinarians can also perform more accurate calculations of calorie requirements based on your dog’s unique needs.

2. Carefully Measure Meals

Once you understand how many calories your dog should be eating, you’ll need to determine how much food you should be feeding them. All dog food labels should clearly state the number of calories per cup.

With some simple math, you can determine how many cups of food your dog should be eating a day.

The most common mistake owners make when it comes to dog food is not paying close attention to how much food they are feeding. As a result, dogs usually end up getting more food than they should.

Designate a standard measuring cup specifically to use for measuring your pet’s food. Many of the cute food scoops found at pet stores provide inaccurate measurements, so it’s best to double-check them or avoid using these scoops altogether.

Carefully measure out every meal to prevent overfeeding your pup.

3. Check the Ingredients List

reading product ingredients

While calories are important, so are the ingredients in your pet’s food. There are many high fat and high carbohydrate diets available on the market.

Not only can these contribute to your pet’s weight gain, but they can also make weight loss very difficult.

If you are trying to get your dog to lose weight, consider a high protein and low carbohydrate diet. Here are a few good dog food options how to help your dog lose weight:

This high protein, low carbohydrate diet is specially designed to help dogs lose weight. The high protein content promotes fat loss while maintaining your dog’s muscle mass.

Not only does this diet help your dog shed those extra pounds, but it can also be used for weight management once your dog reaches their ideal weight.

Cutting calories can often mean smaller portions of food. This can be frustrating for your dog and leave them feeling hungry.

Royal Canin Satiety Support is designed specifically for this problem. The high fiber content helps dogs feel full while still helping them lose weight.

Just like its name, this Hills product offers a variety of health benefits to your pet. Similar to the Royal Canin Satiety diet, this diet provides a large amount of fiber to help pets feel full while their total calorie intake is reduced.

This diet helps with weight management, weight loss, and can promote a healthy immune system.

Additionally, if your pet deals with recurring bladder stones, this diet can help reduce the risk of stone development and promote urinary health.

It’s important to remember that any change to your pet’s diet should be done gradually. It’s also a good idea to check with your veterinarian before making any major changes.

Diets formulated for weight loss can have serious impacts on your pet’s health, which is why many of them require a prescription from a veterinarian. Know your options, and talk to your vet about which one is best for your pet.

4. Add Some Vegetables

pink bowl with vegetables and a cute dog

If your dog is still struggling with the smaller portions of food, vegetables are a great way to provide extra substance without the extra calories. Vegetables contain a variety of essential nutrients and typically have very few calories.

Canned green beans are a great option to add to your pet’s meals. They have high fiber content and will help your pet feel full longer. They can also be used as a healthy alternative for high-calorie treats. There’s a number of other good vegetables for dogs as well.

5. Ditch Those High-Calorie Treats

Speaking of treats, make sure you aren’t exceeding your pet’s daily calorie requirements with treats. Treats are commonly an overlooked source of calories in your pet’s diet.

According to veterinary nutritionists, treats should make up less than 10% of your pet’s total daily calories.

If you are trying to help your dog lose weight, avoid high-calorie treats like milk bones or cookies. Instead, look for lower calorie options like fruits or vegetables.

Frozen blueberries are a healthy way to provide your pet with a little extra crunch. You can also try baby carrots or celery.

Try to avoid fruits with a high sugar content like apples or bananas. Remember that not all fruits and vegetables are safe for pets.

Another easy way to be mindful of your pet’s daily treat consumption is to set aside a portion of your dog’s kibble every day to be used as treats.

This is especially helpful if you don’t want to calculate the number of calories from vegetable or fruit treats.

6. Exercise

dog running together with his owner

One of the top ways how to get your dog to lose weight is to get your pup moving! Increasing your dog’s daily exercise is an essential part of any weight loss plan.

Getting your dog moving will help them build muscles and burn some extra calories.

Keep in mind that the recommendations below are not for dogs with certain health issues like heart disease or orthopedic problems. Please speak to your vet for your dog’s specific situation.

An exercise walk should be a brisk 12-15 min/mile pace. Make sure your pet is not taking frequent breaks to stop and sniff their surroundings. Keep your dog’s leash short and keep moving forward.

If your dog is significantly overweight or out of shape, you will need to build up their stamina over time. Consider taking a 30 min walk that starts with 10 minutes of brisk exercise walking followed by 20 minutes of a more casual pace.

As your dog’s stamina improves, continue to increase the amount of brisk walking.

Another way to increase your pet’s physical activity is with active playtime. Make high-energy activities like fetch or frisbee a part of your dog’s daily routine.

Play sessions should last for at least 15 minutes. By incorporating new balls or squeaky toys, you can make exercise something for your pet to look forward to.

7. Supplements

Nutritional supplements can be a great addition to your pet’s weight loss plan. One of the most commonly used nutritional supplements for weight loss is L-carnitine.

L-carnitine is an amino acid that alters the body’s fat metabolism and improves energy production.

In a study conducted by Iams nutritional specialists, L-carnitine improved weight loss and decreased total body fat. The dogs receiving L-carnitine in this study lost twice the amount of body fat compared to dogs that did not receive the supplement.

Additionally, the dogs who received L-carnitine maintained a healthier weight over time.

When using any nutritional supplement, it’s essential to consider the product’s safety and effectiveness. Unlike medications, nutritional supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Some weight-loss diets already contain L-carnitine, so it’s important to carefully check your pet’s diet formulation before adding a supplement.

You should also check with your veterinarian to determine the best dosage and if supplementation is appropriate for your pet.

8. Address Underlying Health Conditions

fat dog visiting a vet

If your dog still isn’t losing weight, you may need to consider an appointment with your veterinarian.

Metabolic conditions like Cushing’s can cause abnormal weight gain. If these conditions aren’t appropriately treated, weight loss can be difficult.

Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to have your pet examined. Your vet may want to run blood work to check for any abnormalities that could explain why your pet is struggling to lose weight.

If your pet is diagnosed with a medical condition, appropriate treatment is essential. Getting your pet on the right course of treatment will improve their overall health and will likely make weight loss easier.


When your dog is overweight, it can have a serious impact on their long-term health. A safe and effective plan is essential to help your dog lose weight and get back on track.

I hope these 8 tips on how to help your dog lose weight will help your dog shed those extra pounds and achieve a healthier and happier lifestyle.

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