Obese dogs, how to keep your dogs weight optimum

Having a good knowledge of the breed of your dog, and what his optimum weight is for his age, will be a good foundation for making sure your dog stays fit, lithe and healthy. He should be getting regular exercise and space to run to work off those calories, and a good diet to ensure he is getting all the nutrients he needs.

A good diet doesn’t mean a heavy diet, of course. We all know that unless our dogs are paragons of virtue they’re easily swayed by delicious smells coming from the kitchen, and that as far as your faithful hound is concerned it’s finders keepers when it comes to the steak and kidney pie left cooling by the window.

What you don’t want is for your dog to be given constant treats, sweets and any old eats otherwise he’s going to put on weight and waddle rather than streak. By all means have special foods that you give him for behaviour training or rewards for enduring his weekly inspection, but these need to be healthy and balanced and he shouldn’t get into the habit of eating any old junk, or scraps and leftovers additional to his feeding regime. That’s the case even if he is getting lots of exercise and working off what he’s eating – his nutrition needs to be balanced so that when he gallops across the grass he’s drawing on reserves of a good store of minerals and vitamins and a regular intake of healthy, low fat protein rather than drawing on an excess of carbohydrates and fat.

Of course, if your dog is becoming more portly it may mean that he has some kind of hormone imbalance, or that his body shape has changed since being neutered. This doesn’t mean however that you can’t do anything to help him. He needs a revision of his exercise and diet programme so that he can work off the extra layers of fat that are beginning to accumulate. Just a little less in his bowl and a little more play should help him out, although do not under any circumstances put him on a crash diet. Slow but sure is the healthiest way to lose weight.

This doesn’t mean that at times of celebration and seasonal holidays he can’t join in the fun and have a plate of something he likes. Just as you would expect to push the boat out a little at seasonal holidays even if you are on a weight reducing diet, you can join in with the family celebrations and then work it off with extra exercise. In the same way your dog can afford to have a few nibbles of what the family is having and then step up his exercise for a while to stop it settling on his hips!

Of course, if he is on a diet specific to a disease or an illness then you may need to restrict what he can have, but sensible thinking, kindness and a word with your vet will let you know what you can give him so he isn’t left out.