A dog’s body that has to carry too much weight is put under a lot of strain. This will sooner or later lead to illness. Persistent overweight (obesity) can cause major health problems in your pet. It is therefore important to monitor your figure closely in order to identify possible weight gain in good time. Depending on the breed, agility, and age, the physique and the tendency to become overweight are very different. You know your animal best and should be aware of even minor changes.
How do I know if my dog is overweight?
Basically, it is never too late to adapt the diet to the individual needs of your faithful four-legged friend.
Signs of an overweight dog can include a decrease in exercise pleasure and a loss of condition. So if your dog gets out of breath more quickly, ask your vet for advice. You can also feel the excess weight on the ribs, which are a good benchmark for ideal weight. They should be easy to feel with the palm of your hand. You should be able to feel the bones under the skin and fur at the base of the tail. In a very thin dog, the hip bones along the spine are clearly visible.
The rule of thumb is: If you stroke your dog’s chest and can no longer feel his ribs, he seems to be too fat.
Where is the best place to weigh my dog?
Regular weight checks are important so that you always have an overview of how much your four-legged friend weighs. The vet weighs your dog with a special animal scale – at every visit. For a quick kilo check-in between, you will find an animal scale in most of our branches.
How do I weigh my dog?
For weighing, you lead your dog calmly and firmly onto the large weighing surface. If the restless dog refuses, use a tasty treat to help. This may be exceptional. There is a trick to weighing your small to medium-sized dog with the bathroom scale at home: First, stand on the scale without your dog and measure your weight. Then you pick up your dog and weigh yourself again. The difference in the displayed kilograms is the dog’s weight.
Consequences of obesity in dogs: difficult equals unhealthy
Superfluous rolls of bacon are not only visually unattractive but can also quickly make your dog ill. Being overweight puts a strain on the joints, weakens the immune system, lung, and diaphragm function, and makes you more susceptible to diseases, tumors, or allergies. Being overweight is also a possible trigger for high blood pressure and diabetes and, in the long term, damages the heart, kidneys, liver, and joints. Imagine your four-legged friend suddenly having to have an operation: Then the pre-load caused by being overweight can be life-threatening for him. If your dog is overweight, it reduces its quality of life and, in the worst case, shortens its life expectancy.
Dog diet: what to feed?
Diet foods are very different from normal dog food and are not intended to be fed to healthy dogs. Special diet food should therefore only be given in consultation with your veterinarian after an appropriate diagnosis.
Especially during a diet, deficiency symptoms can occur due to incorrect combinations.
So that your dog can lose fat and build muscle, high-quality, low-calorie dog food is important. Proteins, vitamins and minerals, calcium, magnesium, taurine, and phosphorus must be present in the right amounts. The crude fiber content should be as high as possible and the fat content as low as possible. A diet for dogs with kidney damage should be low in protein, low in phosphorus, and low in salt. There are also diet treats for slimmers.
Golden rules for a successful dog diet
- The top priority: stay consistent and stick to the diet plan recommended by the vet!
- Document the diet: Take photos of your dog and regularly enter the weight on a table. If your dog has achieved a successful diet, you can reward it with a cuddle unit or a toy.
- Everyone has to play their part: in order to achieve lasting success, the whole family has to pull together. Children, grandma, and grandpa mustn’t get soft when your dog is sitting in front of the fridge with big wide eyes and wants a treat in between.
Dog Diet Recipes
Of course, it is also possible to prepare the diet food for your dog yourself. This is where you have the best control over the ingredients, which should be mostly low-fat. But the crowd matters too! Just because there is less fat doesn’t mean the dog can eat twice as much. Chicken, vegetable, and rice recipes tend to work well on a diet. However, a consultation with the veterinarian is also necessary here in order to avoid deficiency symptoms. You can find delicious recipes for the dog diet at the end of the article.
Keep your dog slim and fit with these tips:
- Pay attention to a conscious and low-calorie diet. Because even our dear four-legged friends are not spared from the yo-yo effect.
- Weigh your dog regularly and keep a close eye on his weight.
- Adjust the feed rations.
- Don’t lose track – and don’t forget to include the small “sins” of the day, such as treats, when calculating the daily ratio.
- Always make sure your dog gets enough exercise.