How To Help A Dog Lose Weight? 13 Dog Weight Loss Tips

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how to help a dog lose weight

You can help a dog lose weight by calculating its calories, giving him more water to drink, and feeding him multiple times a day.

However, there are more tips you can learn by reading this article.

A study made in 2016 by Pet Obesity Prevention shows that out of 1.224 dogs, only 44,3% live a healthy life, while 34,1% are overweight and 19,8% are obese. And this should be alarming.

Follow these tips to help your dog manage their weight or lose a few pounds to get to its ideal weight.

Calculate calories

When it comes to weight loss, this is one of the most important aspects.

Dog foods have labels with the recommended feeding amount listed on them.

The problem is that those labels are in fact only suggestions based on an average dog in each group.

Your dog might be different when it comes to activity level or current health status.

Calculating the calories will help you decide what is the right amount of food for your dog.

These are the steps to calculate how many calories should a dog have daily:

Convert your dog’s weight in kilograms.

We do this by dividing the weight in lbs by 2.2.

Example: 45 (lbs) divided by 2.2 = 20.4 (kgs)

Calculate the Resting Energy Requirements (RER) based on this ideal weight

 RER in kcal/day = 30 x (body weight in kgs) + 70

Example: 30 x (20.4 kgs) + 70 = 682 kcal / day

You should not reduce feeding below RER calories unless your vet says so.

Make Your Dog Move More

Make sure you take your dog out for a walk at least twice a day for 30 minutes or more.

Depending on your dog’s breed, you will need to schedule more frequent or longer walks.

This will help them burn off those calories and transform the proteins into muscles.

Some active games can work too if you can’t take them out for a walk. Some dogs might like “fetching”.

They would run more than they would do on a walk. Some might like playing “Hide and Seek” with you, others might like finding a hidden toy.

Find the most suitable game for both you and your dog so that you can have a great time together.

Measure Your Dog’s Meals

The most accurate way to get the exact same amount of kibble each time is to weigh your dog’s food in grams.

You can find kitchen scales online or at grocery stores for a cheap price. You want to make sure it measures in grams!

When we talk about canned food, it’s a little bit more complicated.

Canned food usually lists the number of kcals per can, and on the front, it lists the net weight of the food in grams.

If you have all this information, you can calculate how many kcals are in one gram of food.

To get kcals per gram, divide kcals per can by grams per can.

Example: 185 kcal per can divide by 150 grams per can = 1.233 kcal per gram.

Then, divide your pet’s total required daily kcals by kcals per gram.

For example, if your dog needs 680 kcal/day, divide that by 1.233 kcal/gram.

680 divided by 1.233 = 551 grams of canned food per day.

The next step is dividing into meals. Make sure you divide them depending on how many meals your dog has a day.

Give your dog vital vegetables


Vegetables can help your dog lose weight too. They are full of important nutrients like proteins, lipids, fats, carbohydrates, and fiber.

They are also full of antioxidants. They help protect your dog against unstable molecules called free radicals. Free radicals are a major cause of aging and disease.

Your dog’s diet should be about 10% vegetables and fruits. 

If your dog feels sick or stressed, vegetation can be as high as 50%.

Some of the best veggies to feed your dog are asparagus, broccoli, carrots, celery, cucumber, mushrooms, potatoes, and tomatoes.

While many vegetables are safe for dogs, there are a few that you should avoid. You want to avoid onions, legumes, macadamias, and avocados, which can be toxic to dogs.

Add Protein-Rich Food and Cut Down The Carbs

Most dogs don’t need a high-carbohydrate diet.

If you take a look at the food labels, you will notice that many diets contain more than 60% carbohydrates.

We suggest changing your dog’s diet to a higher protein / low carb diet first for weight loss. 

Dogs with certain conditions do better on different types of diets.

Most dogs need a high-protein diet, especially puppies, pregnant and nursing mother dogs.

Some dogs need a low-protein diet, like dogs who suffer from diabetes or dogs with kidney/liver issues.

Don’t forget to ask your vet about the best source of nutrition for your dog in these cases.

Try Supplements

Even though dogs don’t need supplements to lose weight, they can make the process easier.

For example, L-carnitine. This is a supplement that helps your dog maintain good metabolism.

It also helps with the fat-burning process and builds more muscles.

A lot of dog food products contain L-carnitine since it’s naturally found in red meat, fish, and poultry.

Another good supplement is the omega-3 fatty acid supplement. It has a bunch of antioxidants that help prevent and treat most diseases.

And again…Ask your vet before giving any supplements to your dog!

Reward your dog with non-food rewards

We all used to reward our dogs with some snacks, thinking that it won’t affect their weight. The truth is that it can make a big difference!

You should replace those snacks with some belly rubs or head scratches.

Of course, you can also give them food as a reward too. But you look for low carbohydrate or low-calorie options (like raw vegetables).

Encourage your dog to drink at feeding time

This will make your dog feel fuller and stop him from begging for more food afterward.

If your dog doesn’t like to eat water during feeding time, replace some of the kibbles with wet food. This will help your dog lose weight too.

If you are going to top your dog’s dry food with wet food, choose a diet that gives instructions on how to mix the two.

Feed multiple times a day

If your dog doesn’t feel like eating at a certain time, divide the daily food portion into more meals.

In fact, it’s better to feed your dog more times a day with less food, rather than fewer times a day but more food.

The larger the dog, the bigger the daily portion.

If you feed them a large portion a day, it can cause abdominal discomfort and bloat. Bloat can lead to emergencies like Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus.

Start Taking Care Of Your Dog From A Young Age

Usually, chubby puppies will later become fat adults.

Feed your puppy the minimum amount for the bodyweight recommended by your vet.

You should also keep an eye on your dog’s body shape evolution as it grows.

Check if your dog starts getting a potbelly, if you can’t feel its ribs or if it doesn’t have a waist.

These are usually the signs when you should start taking action in your dog’s diet.

Do not leave the food out

One moment of distraction can change your dog’s healthy life.

Don’t leave the food on the table after you eat, as dogs tend to eat anything they can. It is very easy to lose track of how much your dog is eating.

You should also take your dog’s food out after feeding time. Don’t be that type of owner who doesn’t like to leave his dog’s bowl empty.

This is a common mistake we all make and could lead to excessive weight gain.

Help your dog eat slower

Do you want your dog to lose weight? Eating slower allows the dog’s body to actually realize how much food it is ingesting.

There are a bunch of ways to slow down your dog while eating.

One way is to spread your dog’s food onto the ground. This is an effective way to make your dog slow down and to look for its food.

Another way is to use a slow-feeding bowl. These bowls come in all shapes and sizes and can make your dog’s food challenging to eat.

Another simple way is turning mealtime into a game. You can do this by putting the dog’s meal into a toy designed for food games.

Don’t give your dog table scraps

There are some table foods that are safe to share with your dog. That doesn’t mean you can give him fried foods.

Some fruits like peaches and avocados are very risky. Peaches contain pits that are poisonous, while avocados contain a toxin called “persin”.

Garlic and onion contain allium. This can damage your dog’s red blood cells and even cause them to burst.

The Bottom Line

If you have an overweight dog, it is important to get them moving more.

You can do this by playing with them or giving them vigorous exercise.

Another option is to give your canine the vegetables they crave so much but rarely get; like broccoli and cauliflower!

At mealtime, encourage your pup to drink their water which will help hydrate their body as well as keep food down longer.

Have any of these tips helped you make your dog fitter? Share how in our comments section below!

Photo of author
Andrei Bratu
Andrei is the owner of Dog Food Camp and manages the team of expert writers on the site. He is passionate about helping dog lovers learn about canine nutrition.

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