National Pet Obesity Awareness Day

October 11, 2023

What causes pet obesity?

Obesity is mostly caused by an imbalance between the energy intake and usage — in other words, the dog/cat eats more calories than they can burn. Obesity is also caused by your pet not eating a biologically appropriate diet. For example, a dry food diet will always contain too many carbohydrates for your pets, and they have no biological needs for carbs. Obesity also becomes more common in old age because of the normal decrease in a dog’s ability to exercise, due to arthritis and/or other conditions. Neutering or spaying can lower your dog’s metabolism. And like people, genetics can be a factor.

Is My Dog Overweight?

How can you tell if your dog is overweight? The easiest way to tell is to see if you can feel his ribs. There shouldn’t be a layer of fat preventing you from feeling the ridges of his ribs. And he should have a defined waist that you can see from above and from the side. You should be able to see where your dog’s chest stops, and his stomach area begins. 

What To Feed Your Overweight Dog

Here are the most effective foods to help your dog lose weight.

Raw Diet

A whole food, raw meat diet is the best option for your dog. You can buy pre-made frozen raw food. Most should be complete and balanced, and some will contain fruits and vegetables. Higher quality foods won’t have added synthetic vitamins and minerals. Instead, the nutrients come from the ingredients. My favorites are Answers Pet Food and Small Batch Pet Food

Low In Starch

Whether you feed your dog raw or home-cooked, leave out the starchy foods. Dogs have no nutritional requirement for starch to survive. A diet of protein and fat supplemented by some low-carb fruit and vegetables meets your dog’s energy needs. This is why dry food and even some of the commercial fresh foods are bad—they are high in carbohydrates.

Freeze-Dried Raw Diet

Most freeze-dried diets have the same ingredients as pre-made raw frozen diets, such as muscle meat, organs, and ground bones. Some will include fruits and vegetables. Like raw foods, the better options don’t have added synthetic vitamins and minerals. 

Here are some tips for helping your pet lose weight.

  1. Make sure to feed the right amount. Feed to the weight your pet needs to be. Most foods require you to feed 20% higher as they are recommending that you feed a high energy dog. So, you can start by cutting back on the food. (I would not do this for puppies or kittens as they need the calories). 
  2. If after two weeks your pet does not lose any weight and you have switched to a nutrient dense, biologically appropriate food, cut it in half. 
  3. Don’t free feed. Especially if you have multiple pets. Free feeding can also create a picky eater.
  4. Increase daily exercise.
  5. Manage treats. You can try dehydrated treats or veggies instead of starchy biscuits. Some biscuits from the grocery store are also high in added sugar. 

What are some of the problems of your pet being overweight? The Dangers of Having an Overweight Dog:

  • It reduces the lifespan and quality of life of your dog by up to 3 years.
  • Orthopedic disease
  • Ligament rupture
  • Tracheal collapse
  • Arthritis
  • Diabetes
  • Urinary issues
  • Heart disease
  • Joint issues
  • Pancreatitis
  • Heart and lung diseases
  • Cancer
  • Skin problems

If your pet is overweight, and you need assistance, please feel free to come in for a Free Consult with Kristina.   


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