How To Create a Weight Loss Plan For Your Dog
If your dog’s overweight, there’s no time like the present to get started on reversing the situation.
To successfully overcome your pet’s weight issues you’re going to need a plan of action—just like you would if you were working on your own fitness.
1. Set Goals
First, set your dog’s target weight either with the assistance of your veterinarian or from the past when your dog’s weight was ideal. This will be the weight you will feed your dog for, we’ll talk more about this in step 2.
To get your dog’s weight at home for benchmarking, weigh yourself while holding your dog; then weigh yourself without your dog. The difference between the two is your dog’s weight. We keep a calendar by the scale and when Cody “weighs in” each week, we just write the weight on the date. You can’t imagine how motivating it is to see the progress your pet is making in black and white.
2. Do A Little Research
Dog food has calories, just like human food. While most dog food’s offer recommended feeding amounts on their packaging, that often gives a range and we’d like to be a bit more exact. First, find out how many calories per cup of food your dog food contains. Luckily, the calorie/serving information is readily available on most manufacturer’s websites—just be sure to look up your exact food blend.
Next, use a Dog Food Calculator and plug in your dog’s ideal (not current) weight, current activity level, and his dog food’s calories per serving. The calculator will then provide you with the amount to feed daily. Remember, this amount is for the whole day, not per feeding. Divide the total amount by your number of feedings per day to get a per meal amount.
3. Don’t Forget To Consider Calories from Treats!
Do you feed your dog treats throughout the day? Those have calories too. When you’re working to help your pet lose weight, try to minimize the additional food-stuffs you’re adding in. Keep it simple. Consider 0/low calorie treats if you must include extra goodies. High value, low calorie treats like The Honest Kitchen’s Quickies, are great for training as they’re very aromatic but only have 1.1 calories per treat. Whatever you decide treat-wise, make sure to consider it and make adjustments to your dog’s food accordingly.
4. Check Your Tools
Many pet owners try to be careful about how much they feed their pet. They attempt to follow the feeding suggestion on the food bag or what has been recommended by their veterinarian. Unfortunately, when measuring the food, the proper measuring device is not always used. Take the time now to check how much your dog’s food “cup” really holds, and/or invest in an inexpensive measuring cup set. This will make all the difference in your dog’s success.
5. Stick to a Schedule
It may take your dog a few days to adapt to the new feeding schedule. Try to remain strong and give them time to adjust if they beg between meals. Remember this is for their LONG TERM health. Feeding your dog two times a day will help decrease their hunger between feedings; Cody eats three small meals each day for even less time between feedings.
Now that you’ve got your plan in action; all you have to do is stick to it. Good luck!
Please note: Before beginning any diet program for an overweight dog, check with your veterinarian. Dogs, just like humans, can have underlying medical conditions (thyroid issues, diabetes, etc.) that lead to additional weight gain; this may require blood work to confirm.