healthy dog weight

Did your dog gain a little winter weight that wasn’t shed when with their winter coat? No worries, it happens to all of us! A healthy dog weight can seem hard to achieve, especially since putting your dog on a diet is harder than actually sticking to one yourself! They just look so cute when they’re begging and, let’s face it, their whines aren’t always the best sound in the world. 

Obesity is also a common problem with dogs as well. An extra pound or two isn’t a lot to worry about (depending on the breed), but more than that adds up quickly for most dog breeds, especially for those under 50 lbs! Unfortunately, though, there isn’t a set answer on what weight your dog should be. It depends on their breed, gender, age, activity level, and medical history, which means it is almost impossible to give a good range for healthy weights. Your vet will be your best friend when it comes to that. 

On top of that, your dog’s weight impacts almost every aspect of their life. Maintaining a healthy dog weight will do all of the following: 

  • Increase your dog’s lifespan by 1.8 years
  • Improve their mobility
  • Prevent joint stiffness
  • Lower risk of heart disease
  • Lower risk of diabetes

There are some common signs that you need to look out for when it comes to your dog being overweight; inability to groom themselves, trouble breathing, trouble getting around, no definition, and constipation. 

It can be tricky to find the balance between exercise and a good diet for your pet. Below are some positive changes you can make to help your dog become healthier:

Healthy Dog Weight Tip 1: Diet

There are three ways of reducing your dog’s caloric intake and managing their diet. You can either opt to feed them less (your vet will help you find the right amount), feed them food that is low in carbs and fat, and high in protein, or a combination of the two. 

Measuring Their Food

Every dog food bags comes with a recommendation for how much to feed your dog. If you’ve followed that and your dog is still overweight, you may be feeding them the wrong food. Talk with your vet to get a good brand recommendation as well as a good amount to give them. 

It also helps measure the time they’re fed, meaning it helps to put them on a feeding schedule instead of feeding them randomly throughout the day. If your dog is a serial beggar, then we recommend getting a small white board where you can write “The dog has been fed @ 8 a.m.!” to remind you, your partner, and your kids. 

A slow feeder bowl also helps! They can prevent bloat by forcing your dog to slow down when eating. This also helps your dog realize that they are full instead of inhaling their food and begging for more immediately after. 

Limit Treats

This is a sad one, but cut back on the amount of treats and table scraps you’re feeding your dog. They don’t need the added sugar and fat. A treat or two a day is fine, but don’t exceed more than 3 if your dog is on a diet. 

Never Starve your Dog!

Going hungry is not an ideal way to lose weight, especially for a dog. They need food to maintain their energy and health. When we say “reduce the amount they eat,” we don’t mean starving them. We mean going by the instructions on their food bag, feeding them twice a day instead of throughout the day, and cutting back on extra sugar from treats. Never starve your dog or put them on a crash diet – the results could be fatal! 

Healthy Dog Weight Tip 2: Regular Exercise

It is important to keep your dog active. Exercise is good for their muscle tone, increasing metabolism, and reducing boredom. The right amount of exercise for your dog depends on their breed, age, and health needs, however all dogs need exercise. 

If possible, try to add more exercises to their routine apart from walking them. Spend time on games like fetch, or have them go for a swim (which is great to help take weight off their limbs).  

Healthy Dog Weight Tip 3: Multiple Pets or Kids

When you have other pets or kids, then you know how hard it can be to keep your dog from sneaking extra food. 

If you have more than one dog or different pets, make sure you feed them separately so they don’t eat food not meant for them. If you have a cat, put their food in a higher up area where your dog can’t reach. 

If you have kids, teach them to not feed your dog table scraps and to stop giving them treats during the day. Bonus points if you add “walk the dog” to their daily list of chores! 

Finally, don’t be afraid to try new things that involve the whole family! Your dog may love to swim, chase frisbees, run an obstacle course, or hike on a trail. Just remember to keep in mind your dog’s physical limitations for each new activity.

If your dog needs a little extra support, Doggy Brace can help. Our braces are designed for CCL tears but can promote your dog’s hind legs to provide joint support. They are available for all sizes and breeds too!