Overweight pug in front of food bowl

A high-protein, high-carbohydrate and low-fat diet is best for an overweight dog.

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What food is there for overweight dogs?

By Dr. Helen Donald BA BVetMed MBA MSc MRCVS Veterinarian

Updated on the

As well as increasing their exercise, choosing the right food for your overweight dog is vital.

Obesity is an increasing problem for dogs that can lead to all sorts of other health problems. Losing weight safely and healthily is vital.

What is the best dry dog food for overweight dogs?

There are lots of brands of dog food on sale and the choice can sometimes feel overwhelming. It’s important that a dieting dog gets all the nutrients it needs and simply reducing its food intake may lead to deficiencies. It’s better to choose a specific weight control diet that is well-balanced.

What should I feed my overweight dog?

Generally, a high-protein, high-carbohydrate and low-fat diet is best. Protein ensures that your dog loses excess fat rather than muscle mass, as its weight goes down and also stimulates its metabolism, while a high-carbohydrate content helps to keep your dog feeling full for longer.

If you like to give your dog treats, ask a vet for a diet plan that allows for 10 per cent of the daily allowance to be given as treats and ask them for suggestions for suitable foodstuffs, such as freeze-dried meat treats. Remember to scale portions down when giving any treats; most dogs are a lot smaller than we are. A piece of toast for your dog may not seem very much but, for a small dog, it could be equivalent to half a loaf for us.

Does weight control dog food work?

Absolutely. But it requires discipline and dedication and regular check-ups at the vets to make sure that you are using it effectively. It’s also important to have a diet plan once your dog reaches its target weight.

Why is my dog overweight?

Just as with humans, dogs usually end up overweight because they consume too many calories relative to the amount of exercise they get.

How can you tell if your dog is overweight?

The rule of thumb is that you should be able to feel your dog’s ribs easily when you run your hands over their side. Visit a vet and they will weigh and body condition score your dog to give you a more accurate assessment and to set a target weight.

How much should you feed an overweight dog?

You should avoid putting your dog on a crash diet, as it will be harder to maintain their weight at a good level later if they lose weight too fast. The maximum weight loss to aim for is 1-2 per cent of their body weight per week. Working out the correct amount to feed is complicated and it’s best to ask a vet to calculate a diet plan for your dog. This plan will need to be adjusted as your dogs loses weight.

Do green beans help dogs lose weight?

Green beans have become quite a fad recently, with many owners reporting that they have helped in getting their dog’s weight under control. Green beans are high in fibre, so they make your dog feel full. Having said that, they are not a complete food and so, over time, your dog may suffer from nutritional deficiencies if too much of their diet is made up of green beans. In addition, green beans are not always well-digested and some dogs develop smelly farts, if fed too many beans.

Does walking a dog help them lose weight?

All exercise is helpful. In addition to walking your dog, you could try playing games with them such as chasing a ball. Alternatively, you could walk your dog with a friend and their dog, so that your dog is encouraged to run about more with their dog.

What is the best low-fat dog food?

All dogs, even dieting dogs, need good-quality fats in their diets. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids help to keep your dog’s skin and coat in good condition, and also play a vital role in joint health and your dog’s immunity. A good quality weight-control diet will incorporate the essential fats your dog needs for optimum health.

When should I see a vet?

You should always consult a vet before starting any weight-loss programme. Ask a vet for advice on the most appropriate diet and how much to feed your dog, as well as tips on safe exercise.

What should I ask a vet about my overweight dog?

Vets see a lot of overweight dogs and are delighted when an owner recognises the problem and is ready to put their dog on a weight-loss diet, so don't hesitate to contact them. Vet nurses are also very experienced at helping clients. In addition, many practices run weight-loss clinics for free or at only minimal cost to clients. Your pet will be weighed regularly and you can benefit from lots of advice from veterinary staff and other owners.

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