How to Manage Your Dog's Weight

Dogs Need Protein

Obesity is a common problem in dogs. Identifying the causes and following a total weight management program can result in controlled weight loss and maintenance. A total weight management program includes evaluating your dog, then modifying behaviors and successful dog weight control.

Definition of obesity Obesity is defined as an increase in body weight beyond the limitation of skeletal and physical requirements, resulting from an accumulation of excess body fat.

Causes of obesity Obesity is caused when caloric intake exceeds caloric expenditure. This simply means that a dog eats more energy (calories) than he uses and stores the excess energy.

Factors contributing to obesity

  • Overfeeding
  • Inactivity
  • Breed
  • Age and Sex
  • Spay/neuter status
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Hyperadrenocorticism
  • Hypothyroidism
 

Important Nutrients

Fat and carbohydrates
Dogs use fat as their primary energy source. An overweight dog stores fat more easily if the calories are consumed in the form of fat than if they are from carbohydrates. An overweight or obese dog should be fed a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet to restrict calories available from fat, which is important for dog weight control.

Fiber and fatty acids
A normal fiber level, provided in a moderately fermentable fiber source, helps create and maintain healthy digestion. This is especially important for the dog on a diet. Some weight-loss foods for dogs dilute calories with high levels of fiber. High-fiber foods may reduce the digestibility and absorption of many nutrients, including fat. These foods reduce weight by providing what would be considered poor-quality nutrition. These high-fiber diets also result in large, frequent stools and decreased skin and coat condition. Dog foods such as IAMS™ ProActive Health™ Adult Weight Control, which provide essential fatty acids like those found in vitamin-rich fish oils, help maintain your dog's healthy skin and coat despite lowered fat levels.

Gradual Weight Loss

The goal of a good weight management program should be gradual weight loss. Dogs should lose 1% to 2% of their initial weight per week. This can be achieved by reducing the caloric intake by 30% to 50% of maintenance.

A total weight management program can lead to successful weight loss in the obese dog. Before beginning any weight-loss program with your dog, discuss it with your veterinarian. Remember, your support is essential to your dog's weight-control success.