How To Help Your Dog Lose Weight

Pup’s vet says he needs to lose a few? Um, talk about rude. All bods are brootiful, but if you’re wondering how to help your dog lose weight, you’re in the right place. Because gorgeous, gorgeous dogs prioritize their health and wellbeing so they can live to be 104 and never break our hearts ever. Read on for our favorite tips.

Stop Free Feeding

Sorry, dogs. Your days of endless grazing are over. Scheduled meals are typically the best choice for all dogs, whether they need to lose weight or not, but *especially* if they need to lose weight. Not only does free feeding make it difficult for pup to experience feeling satiated, it also makes it really hard to keep track of how much they are eating (as well as any changes in appetite, which are crucial in monitoring your dog’s health).

To get started, offer your dog her meal by placing her bowl on the floor. Since she has long enjoyed the privilege of doing what she wants when she wants like canine royalty, she will probably blink at you. Encourage her to eat, and when she walks away after a few bites, put the bowl up. Offer it again a few minutes later. In just a few days, she will learn that if she wants to eat, she is going to need to do so while the meal is available to her. And she loves eating, okay?

Brindle French Bulldog high fiving human next to a full bowl of dog food
High fives for meal time! | Kabo

Start Measuring Your Dog’s Food

As truly satisfying as the all-you-can-eat daily dining plan sounds, every day cannot be a Golden Corral day. Consult with your vet on the right amount of food for your bestie. Next, appoint one household member as the King of Kibble (spoiler, it’s you).

At the beginning of the day, measure out your dog’s daily allotment from the big food container and place it in a smaller vessel. No other human in all of Kibble Kingdom shall touch the big food container (you can put a moat around it, but an angry all-caps sticky note should do the trick). All tasty noms shall be distributed from the daily portion. Lest there be dragons.

Incorporate More Exercise 

Fitness? More like “fitness whole package of bagels I stole off the counter in my mouf.” While a workout might seem like h*ck on Earth to some of us, doggos actually enjoy exercise.

If your pup is currently pretty sedentary, begin with two 15 minute walks a day (notice we said *walks* and not sniffs, lil buds). Already got this part down? Then increase your pace, add a block or two each week, and add 5-10 minutes per walk. And for humans who need a modified method, try 15 minute sessions of fetch, hide and go seek, training (it’s work!), or in-home strength workouts (check out a few ideas for helping senior dogs build strength here).

Puzzle Toys For Dog Weight Loss

“Whoever said playing with your food is wrong is seriously disturbed”—Bruiser Woods, probably. Feeding meals in a treat toy or puzzle feeder incorporates much-needed enrichment and slows down dinner time, which helps pups feel more satisfied. Impressively, 15 minutes of kibble hostage negotiations with a puzzle toy is equivalent to about 30 minutes of physical play. And it’ll keep you pal’s brain sharp, too.

Feed Low Calorie Snacks 

We know, we know—they love the cookies that look like Oreos. The thing is that they can’t go to the store and buy them on their own (dang suspended license!), so eventually they’ll learn to love the healthier choices you make on their behalf.

When it comes to low cal treats, select single-ingredient goodies your pal enjoys. Think baby carrots, green beans, zucchini, blueberries, apple or banana slices, broccoli, asparagus, and any other dog-safe veggies and fruit. You can also use a few kibble from your dog’s daily allotment as treats. And reserve the nutty butter only for necessary occasions. Instead, blend up a little sweet potato or offer some pumpkin puree. 

Utilize Non-Food Rewards

There’s no denying a delicious snacc is a highly effective bribe. But there are more ways to pup’s heart than through her stomach! Offering loads of praise and kind words can be just as meaningful (perhaps her love language is words of affirmation?). You can also use play time in place of a treat, such as a moment of tug as a reward for a good sit-stay. Pupper RUV going for a walk more than anything else on the planet? Use putting on her harness as a reward for doin’ a speak. And let’s face it: there’s no nugget on earth she loves more than her favorite scritchies from her favorite human.

Increase Fiber For Dog Weight Loss

Adding fiber to your dog’s diet has loads of health benefits and is a weight loss supercharger to boot. Not only does fiber come in many delicious packages, it also increases bulk and helps a good boy or girl feel full and satisfied. And it’s easy as pup to include! Steam a package of green beans at the beginning of the week, chop ‘em up, and add a handful to your fren’s bowl. Mix in some canned pumpkin or cooked and cooled sweet potato (about 1-3 tablespoons, based on your dog’s size). Or incorporate a spoonful of cooked oats. We wish all healthy habits tasted this good.

What are you still wondering about how to help your dog lose weight? Woof at us in the comments and be sure to tag #SidewalkDog in all those inspiring B&A pics.

Featured photo: Blue Bird

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