Is your dog starting to look a little overweight? Have they enjoyed one too many treats? If so, they're not alone. Around 60% of dogs report being overweight, half of which are also obese. That's why we've put together this easy food plan to teach you how to help your dog lose weight.
The Benefits of Helping My Dog Lose Weight
It's all too easy to spoil a dog too much. But, like their human counterparts, too much of a good thing inevitably causes obesity. As for people, excess body fat leads to joint problems, chronic inflammation, and more. Obese dogs even live shorter lives, too [*].
Nor does your dog losing weight solely benefit their health. It boosts their emotional wellbeing too. One study found that dogs who completed a weight loss program have increased vitality and decreased emotional disturbance [*].
How Fast Can a Dog Lose Weight?
Now you're aware of the problem of doggy obesity, you'll be keen for them to shift their excess fat. But hold up. How fast can a dog lose weight?
The answer is pretty quickly.
As this article's name suggests, you can and will notice a difference within 30 days. But that doesn't mean you should go all out. The optimum rate of weight loss is roughly 1-2% of their total body weight per week. That roughly corresponds to a reduction in their caloric intake of 50-75% of normal requirements [*].
Any faster and you may trigger nutritional deficiencies and undesirable behavior – like digging through the trash.
What Causes Obesity in Dogs?
It might sound like an obvious question: they're eating too much. However, in reality, many factors trigger weight gain in dogs. If you want to help your dog lose weight, you're going to need to understand the cause.
Here are some common risk factors:
- Genetics. Certain breeds are more likely to gain weight than others. Labradors, Dachshunds, Golden Retrievers, Pugs, Cocker Spaniels, Boxers, and more are just a few examples of obese-prone breeds.
- Age. As dog's age, their metabolism slows, leading to weight gain.
- Overfeeding. Lots of treats between meals, one excessively large meal per day, or calorie-dense dry foods can all contribute to overfeeding. It's easily done.
- Not enough exercise. Dogs need to move around – a lot! If they eat more calories than they burn, weight loss is inevitable.
- Sex. Female dogs gain weight easier than male dogs.
- Neutering or spraying. These procedures alter the sex hormone balance, leading to secondary effects on appetite, exercise, and loss of lean body mass.
Any one of these factors could be contributing to weight gain. But that doesn't mean you can't still implement a diet to help your dog lose weight. It just takes a little careful preparation.
Your 30 Day Step-By-Step Dog Weight Loss Plan
No dog weight loss plan is complete without a food plan. Diet matters. But it also puts the responsibility on you – the owner. In short: if a dog is failing to lose weight, it's because you're feeding them too many calories.
Here's a weekly weight loss plan your dog can follow:
What's the ideal weight? Every weight loss plan needs a goal. If in doubt, speak to your vet: they'll determine the calorie amount needed daily. Recent studies have pinned the restriction to around 50 to 75% of maintenance energy requirements [*].
You can also use the equation: 70 x (ideal body weight (kg)^0.75 (If your math inclined.)
Develop your weight loss plan. Calculate how much Perfect Kibble dog food you can give your dog per day using their daily calorie allotment.
(Perfect Kibble is packed with protein, which studies have found increases weight loss: as protein requires more energy to break down [*].)
For example, 1 cup of Perfect Kibble contains 375 kcal. It's recommended to feed an active golden retriever around 1,500 calories per day. If their diet is 65% of that, they need to eat 975 calories per day.
That's about 2 ½ cups per day. But make sure to leave a little extra room for treats – that's where the calories add up.
You'll also want to cut out table scraps. Studies show that owners who fed more table scraps had overweight dogs. Indeed, of the dogs studied, 59% received table scraps, which equaled 21% of their daily caloric intake [*].
Keep up the work. Review the diet plan and make sure you're sticking to it. Check-in with other family members that no one is giving excess treats or scraps.
It's also a great time to build in a little extra exercise.
It's been two weeks – fantastic work. Now, you need to recheck your dog's weight. Ideally, they've been losing somewhere between 0.5 to 2% of their starting weight. That translates to around 2 to 8% per month.
You may notice a faster weight loss initially due to loss of water weight. But if the weight loss is too drastic, simply adjust your initial weight loss plan.
Monitor progress. It's the end of the food plan, but that doesn't mean you can't keep going. Compare your dog's new weight to their ideal weight, and see how they stack up. If they've hit their target, all you need to do is increase their calorie intake by around 10 to 15% to maintain their new trim figure.
Pretty amazing, right?
The Bottom Line
Helping your dog lose weight isn't hard. All it takes is a few simple steps:
- Measure out your dog's food
- Reduce the treats and table scraps
- Weigh your dog frequently to track their process.
That's all there is to it. Using our Perfect Kibble dog food, your dog also won't be at risk of any nutrient deficiencies. Packed with lots of protein sources, seeds, and vegetables, it's the ultimate healthy dog food.Discuss on Twitter View Discussions