It’s estimated that some 40 percent of the pet dogs in the United States are overweight or obese. The figures are similar in other nations such as Great Britain and Australia.
Many people are unable to differentiate between a dog in fit condition and a fat dog. Veterinarians report that 47 percent of their patients are overweight or obese while only 17 percent percent of dog owners think their dogs are overweight or obese.
Most obesity in dogs is entirely preventable. It’s due to overfeeding and lack of exercise. Many owners feel that their dogs should never be hungry. If their dog gives them “the look,” whines, or puts a paw on their knee, the owner immediately caves in and gives more food or treats. Many owners are literally loving their dogs to death.
What If Your Dog is Overweight?
Obesity in dogs is a serious health problem and it can shorten your dog’s life. If your dog is overweight or obese he is at greater risk for:
- Cardiac disease
- Respiratory conditions
- Heat or exercise intolerance
- Dermatological problems affecting skin, hair and coat
- Compromised immune function
- Increased surgical and anesthetic risks
- Cruciate/intervertebral disk rupture
All of these health problems can cause your dog pain and suffering or even end his life early. On the other hand, in an independent study conducted by Purina, dogs which were kept at an ideal weight throughout their lives had a median lifespan that was 15 percent greater than dogs which were fed free choice and who could eat whenever they felt like it.
Dog Weight Control
If you’d like to help your fat dog lose some weight there are some good dog foods for overweight dogs. You can also cook at home for your overweight dog to help him lose weight as long as you are strict about his diet.
It is possible to reduce your dog’s weight by simply putting him on a dog diet, especially if you have been overfeeding him. You will also need to cut back on snacks and make sure your dog starts getting more exercise. If this method is going to work you’ll need to enlist the help of every member of your household. If your kids are feeding your dog things from their plate it won’t work. You should also feed your overweight dog separately from other dogs to prevent him from stealing their food.
If your dog weighs more than 15 percent more than he should then your vet may recommend that you put your dog on a food for overweight dogs. Look for foods that are high in protein with low carbs and moderate amounts of fat. If you feed your dog foods with extremely low amounts of fat he will likely feel hungry all the time. In addition, your dog needs some fat in his diet to help supply essential fatty acids and fat soluble vitamins.
You’ll also be looking for foods with lower overall calories. You may need to feed your dog several small meals per day to keep him from feeling too hungry at first.
If you’re cooking for your dog then you should consult your dog cookbooks to find recipes that meet these same requirements.
Look for recipes that are high in protein, low in carbs and provide moderate fat. Recipes like these are relatively easy to find since the top ingredient in most homecooked meals is a protein such as beef, chicken or turkey and you can often modify the other ingredients.
What’s the Number One Rated Dog Food for Overweight Dogs?
- ACANA — offers higher protein light diets for overweight dogs.
- Horizon Pet Nutrition — Offers a higher protein senior pet diet that is low in fat for dogs who need a low fat diet.
- Wellness CORE Reduced Fat
- Life’s Abundance
- Formula K (Great Britain)
All of these foods are high in protein, relatively low in carbs and still provide moderate amounts of fat. They are the best of the best in terms of weight loss foods for dogs.
Some of the more commonly available commercial dog foods for weight loss may work for your dog but they have the disadvantage of being high in corn and other grains which may not be good for your dog, especially if he has any problems with allergies.
Be sure to consult your vet before making any drastic changes with your dog’s life, including his diet.
All of these foods are high in protein, relatively low in carbs and still provide moderate amounts of fat. They are the best of the best in terms of weight loss foods for dogs. Some of the more commonly available commercial dog foods for weight loss may work for your dog but they have the disadvantage of being high in corn and other grains which may not be good for your dog, especially if he has any problems with allergies.