If you’re worried about your dog’s weight, then you’re not alone - dog obesity is fairly common. Just like their two-legged friends, lots of dogs love their food and it can be difficult to know how much the right amount is. What they are eating is just as important as how much – it might be hard to resist those pleading eyes at the table, but an overweight dog is not ideal from a health perspective. Luckily, there are some simple steps you can take to help get your dog back in shape.
Unsure whether you have a case of dog obesity in the house?
The PFMA's dog size-o-meter is a helpful tool to see if you do. If you do think you have an overweight dog, it may be a good idea to talk to your vet about what a healthy weight would be, so you know how much they need to lose. Once you’ve established their current weight and their healthy weight, you can start by reviewing their diet.
An ideal diet for an overweight dog
A raw diet can be a great way to up the protein and reduce the carbohydrates, helping combat dog obesity. Our nugget recipes are complete and balanced and have a high meat content. What’s more, they make portion control super simple as you can just count out the number of nuggets you need, eliminating waste and overfeeding. Many pets naturally lose weight when transitioned. None of our recipes contain sugar or any cheap bulking ingredients, which may well be snuck into the ingredients list of more highly processed dog food.
Just like with a human diet, certain foods are prone to cause weight gain. The odd healthy treat is a great way to reward and encourage good behaviour but try to avoid feeding them anything sugary or high in fat. Our 95% Meaty Treats or Superfood Bars are a great way to give them a tasty and healthy morsel.
Carbohydrates are also liable to cause weight gain. They provide lots of instant energy and if this isn’t being used up straight away, it will be stored as fat. Marathon runners may need big plates of pasta and rice to keep going, but most of us aren’t marathon runners – and nor are our dogs! Dog obesity could be the result of too many carbohydrates and not enough protein.
Some dogs, such as those with a high amount of energy and daily activity may benefit from a recipe with a small volume of non-starchy carbohydrates, such as our Beef Nuggets with Vegetables and Brown Rice. If you prefer to cut down on the carbs, our Country Hunter range is grain and gluten free and contains 80% meat, so an overweight dog won’t need to eat as much to feel full and will get all the good energy and vitamins and minerals they need.
How much to feed an overweight dog?
In general, dogs should be fed twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. Breed, age and how active they are all factor into how much your dog should be eating. Generally, younger dogs need to eat more than those in their senior years and most bigger dogs need more than little ones. Our quick and easy dog food calculator can give you product suggestions and the recommended quantity to feed with just a few simple questions.
If you have an overweight dog, it’s important to feed for the weight you want them to be, rather than their current weight. If there’s a big difference between the two, we recommend reducing the amount you feed gradually to help them adjust as they lose weight.
So, if your dog currently weighs 16kg, and their target weight is 10kg, you can start by calculating their portion amount based on 14kg. Once they get down to 14kg, you can then recalculate the portion size based on 12kg. Once they’ve got to this, you can make the final adjustment to reach the target weight. Dogs with medical issues may need a specialist feeding schedule, which you should also discuss with your vet.
New diet, new dog!
Once your dog is on a raw, natural, and nutritious diet they also may begin to exhibit more energetic behaviour. What we eat affects how we feel and although certain foods might be tempting in the moment, if they lack nutrients or are difficult to digest, they often leave us feeling sluggish. The same is true for our dogs. Dog obesity can leave your pet feeling lethargic and reluctant to get out and about. With the right nutrients fuelling them, you may notice your dog has more energy and is raring to get up off the sofa and into the park!
If you do have an overweight dog then don’t worry, with a few simple steps you can help your dog get back on and bounding along the track! Feeding them a raw, natural diet can be a great lifestyle change, and by keeping an eye on their weight and their portion size, you could find they lose weight and become more energetic in no time. If you do have any concerns about your dog’s health or weight, you should talk to your vet. Please feel free to drop us a line with any questions – our in-house veterinary experts are always on hand to help.