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How To Help Your Dog Lose Weight

It’s so difficult to resist the puppy dog eyes when you have mouth-watering scraps on your hands. In fact, research suggests that 90% of us tend to give in and give them a bite. Before you know it, our dogs are piling on the pounds and we’re googling ‘how can I help my dog lose weight’.

Helping your dog to maintain a healthy weight, means they’re less likely to suffer from illnesses such as diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, and high blood pressure. So to save you from Googling any further, we’ve picked up some advice and tips from Burns Pet Nutrition to help your dog lose weight.

Suspect your dog is overweight? You’re not alone. Dog weight loss is quickly becoming a hot topic, affecting more and more dog owners. Sadly, nearly 60% of dogs in the UK are now overweight, and many owners are unaware that their dog is carrying more pounds than they should be. In fact, it’s becoming really hard for owners to know what a healthy weight looks like.

What Can Lead to Weight Gain in Dogs?

There’s a number of reasons for doggy weight gain. Just like us humans, dogs gain weight when they eat more than they should and don’t exercise enough. Although we’ve been spending more time with our pets during lockdown, some of us may be losing track of their eating and exercise habits. 

Here’s what actions can lead to weight gain in our pets:

  • Over feeding
  • High fat in foods or treats
  • High fat in dog chews
  • Not enough exercise
  • Food too high in protein

How to Tell if Your Dog is Overweight

Every dog is different! What might be the right weight for one breed, might not be the same for another (even if they’re from the same litter).

Luckily, Burns have a simple trick for checking if your dog’s overweight. Run your hand along your dog’s ribs. This should feel similar to the small layer of fat you have on your knuckle when flat. Here, you should be able to feel all of your dog’s ribs. If you can’t, there’s a chance it could be because there’s a layer of fat in the way.

If you have to push and prod to feel their ribs, then your dog probably needs to lose weight. Always consult your vet if you’re unsure.

If your dog is overweight, don’t ignore it. Just like humans, a dog carrying a little too much weight can have health issues such as arthritis, breathing problems, heart problems, and diabetes.

What To Do if your Dog is Overweight

Small changes can make a big difference! There’s a number of ways you can make a huge difference to your dog’s health. Who knows, in doing so you may keep your own health in check too. Here are Burns‘ top tips for achieving those doggy weight loss results:

Measure Their Food

First things first – check the amount of food you’re feeding your dog. Most dog food companies like Burns have a scale to show exactly how much food you should be feeding your dog daily. These will be different for each company and depend largely on how many nutrients are in the food. If you measure the amount you’re giving your dog according to these recommendations, you’d be able to avoid any overfeeding.

Consider a Dog Weight Loss Food

If your dog isn’t satisfied after a food reduction, or needs to lose a lot of weight in the healthiest way possible, it might be time to consider a food that has been specially created for doggy weight loss.

Burns Weight Control Range is a low calorie, high satisfaction, healthy weight loss management food that has been developed by veterinary surgeon John Burns to fill hungry dogs and aid weight loss. Pair these with their low calorie Oatie Bite treats for extra satisfaction without the calorie overkill.

Get Them Exercising

In 2019, only around 60% of people in the UK did any physical activity. So, it doesn’t take a genius to work out that our pets are probably more sedentary than they should be.

It’s important for all of us to move as much as possible, and this goes for our pets too. Take a walk, or a canicross run, climb the stairs or play fetch to get them moving. If your dog is too overweight to get very far, try taking a small walk around the garden, and once they can manage it, extend their walk by a little bit each day.

person walking with puppy near trees

Monitor Their Weight Loss

If you’re trying to make sure your dog loses weight, it’s probably a good idea to keep track of their progress. Don’t worry, we don’t want you to announce their weight to the world on a big screen like The Biggest Loser, or body shame your podgy pooch by getting the dogs in the neighbourhood round to gawp at them on the scales, but it would be a good idea to see whether or not your hard work is paying off.

To Treat or Not To Treat

If you’re going to be giving your dog treats, make sure you also give them a little less food. Although little treats tend to be high in fat and calories, some treats could also be high in sugar and protein, which mounts up. Does your dog love chews? Did you know that one medium chew can equate to around 20 grams of food a day? If you’re going to give them a chew, make sure you account for the extra calories too.

How to Treat Your Dog Without The Extra Calories

If your dog is a little tubby, then they probably love a good treat or two! If they need to lose weight, consider giving them vegetables as a treat instead. Carrots, green beans, cauliflower, cucumber, broccoli and courgettes can be fed raw or cooked and are a great healthy alternative to high fat treats. Another great way to treat your dog is simply to provide them with extra attention and playtime. This is a great way to reward them without the extra calories, and most dogs would take attention over a pink pupcake any day.

Find a Support Group

Yes, we’re serious. Dog obesity is becoming a huge problem and a lot of us have no idea how to deal with it, let alone decipher all of the information out there. Why not find a supportive group where you can get free support and advice from a team of nutritional advisors. Luckily, Burns has a great support group on Facebook for caring owners just like you. Join the free Hounds Dropping Pounds Facebook support group today. 

Share Your Weight Loss Tips

Have you ever helped your dog to lose weight? Let us know and share your top tips in the comments below.


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  1. I’m only a tiny dog with little legs so mumma has to keep a good eye on my weight! She makes sure my treats are 100%, natural meat or vegetables – no nasty cereal derivatives that are just empty calories! My food is weighed out everyday and she takes out a treat allowance from my daily amount.

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