Effective methods to slim down your dog


Excess weight in your pet is a cause for concern. Ignoring an overweight dog can quickly lead to obesity, a chronic disease. Fortunately, there are ways to slim down your dog. These involve changes to your dog’s diet and lifestyle, as well as constant monitoring of your pet under the guidance of a veterinarian. Would you like to find out how to help your pet regain a slender figure? Or are you looking for answers to the question of how to slim down your dog after neutering or sterilisation? Read the article below!

Slimming down your dog – when is it necessary?

A loving carer tries to look after their pet as best as possible. He or she provides him or her with veterinary care, plays with him or her and goes on walks and feeds him or her. However, our care and commitment to raising our dog sometimes degenerate into misunderstood pampering, such as giving our dog snacks whenever he asks for them. It is important to remember that your dog’s total calorie intake per day must be appropriate to his body requirements. Otherwise, you will quickly notice the effects of long-term overfeeding in the form of overweight and later obesity. How can you tell the difference between these two conditions? This can be done using the animal’s body condition score. If a dog’s body weight is 15-30% above the optimum, then we are talking about overweight. Exceeding the recommended value by more than 30% means that the animal is already obese.

If you notice that your dog needs to lose weight, you should take the appropriate steps as soon as possible. This is not only for visual reasons but above all to keep your pet in good physical and mental condition. Overweight and obesity lead to other health problems, which include:

  • diabetes,
  • hypertension
  • kidney disease,
  • inflammation and degeneration of the joints,
  • spinal degeneration,
  • decreased immunity,
  • increased risk of cancer.

Dogs suffering from overweight or obesity often develop behavioural disorders, chronic mood depression and, in extreme cases, even depression.

The main cause of overweight and obesity in pets is overfeeding. The problem occurs when an animal takes in more calories in a day than its body needs. The excess is deposited in the body as adipose tissue, providing a backup source of energy.

Overfeeding a dog is unfortunately very easy. Often, we do not even realise that we are providing our charge with too much food energy. Additional calories are found in:

  • snacks – dog treats are an excellent means of rewarding your pet or simply making him happy. However, it is important to remember that their calorific value should be deducted from the main meals so that the whole-day balance is not upset;
  • portions that are too large – the number and size of a dog’s meals should be determined by taking into account the dog’s age, weight, physiological state, level of physical activity, as well as the type of food used. Incorrect portioning contributes to excesses and/or deficiencies of calories and nutrients in your pet’s body;
  • food that is not intended for pets – giving your dog the contents of your plate is strongly discouraged. Human food is not balanced according to your pet’s needs. For the same reason, it is also not advisable to cook your dog’s food yourself. Although it is possible to prepare balanced food for your pet, it requires specialist knowledge of dietetics, which most carers do not have.

Overfeeding is not the only reason why it is often necessary to lose weight in a dog. Other risk factors include:

  • too little physical activity
  • the mature age of the quadruped (7 years or older);
  • gender (females are more likely to be overweight and obese than males);
  • physiological condition (dogs often gain weight after neutering or sterilisation);
    breed predisposition (Scottish terriers, beagles, cocker-spaniels, bassets, labrador retrievers, golden retrievers and Newfoundlands are particularly prone to overweight).

How to slim down your dog? Proven methods!

If you notice that your pet’s body weight has increased in recent times, you should take action. The first step is to visit your vet, who will assess your pet’s condition and implement appropriate remedies. Every case is different, so the medical history is always the starting point for treatment. At the diagnosis stage, we may hear the following questions, among others:

  • What kind of food are we feeding the dog?
  • What portion do we use?
  • How often do we feed our pets?
  • Do we feed the animal homemade food?
  • Do we use dog snacks?
  • How often and for how long do we go for walks with our pet?

Are there any physical activities with the dog during walks?

Based on our answers, the specialist will be able to suggest lifestyle and dietary changes that will contribute to your pet’s weight reduction. The basis is to balance your dog’s diet correctly and to ensure that your pet gets the optimum amount of exercise. The following is a list of good practices that answer the question of how to slim down your dog and help prevent your pet from becoming overweight and obese.

The correct choice of food

A conscious choice of food is the basis for an optimal diet for your pet. The safest and simplest solution is to use complete, i.e. complete and balanced pet food. By feeding your dog in this way, you can be sure that you are providing 100% of the necessary nutrients in optimum proportions for your dog. Calorific needs change with age and also depending on the physiological state of the animal. It is also important that the choice of complete food is not random. On the market, there is a choice of products for puppies, adult and senior dogs (junior, adult, and senior respectively), as well as food for dogs after castration/sterilisation.

The Waltham Institute of Animal Science recommends a mixed diet, consisting of dry and wet foods in a 1:1 ratio in terms of product weight. This guideline applies to dogs that are healthy, non-working and not overweight. The nutrition of pets with excess weight should be based primarily on complete wet food. It is approximately four times less calorific than dry pellets and therefore helps to reduce body weight. It is always a good idea to consult a nutritionist or vet about changes to your dog’s diet.

Correct positioning

Your four-legged dog’s daily energy requirements depend on its breed, body weight and activity level. Based on these data, the portioning of the individual meals should be determined. The feeding charts on the complete food packaging will help you to do this.

A healthy adult dog should be fed 2-3 times a day. In the case of an overweight or obese pet, it is best to feed more often, but in smaller quantities. It is a good idea to plan meals at regular intervals. Also, do not give your dog food immediately before or after exercise.

Optimum exercise

A proper diet is an important, but not the only, part of your dog’s weight loss process. It is equally important to ensure that your pet gets the right amount of exercise throughout the day. It is recommended that a longer (at least 30-minute) walk is taken every day, at least an hour before eating. For dogs struggling with overweight or obesity, the time and intensity of physical activity should be increased accordingly. It is worth consulting your vet on this matter, as a deficiency of exercise can be just as damaging as an excess (which carries a risk of injury). The type of physical activity must be matched to your pet’s current exercise capacity. When preparing a training plan, its health limitations must also be taken into account.

Consideration of medical circumstances – neutering and sterilisation

Neutering and sterilisation are medical procedures that should be carried out on all non-breeding animals. Their main purpose is to reduce the risk of uncontrolled reproduction. By performing surgical contraception, we can also reduce the likelihood of certain cancers in dogs (prostate cancer, ovarian cancer, among others), as well as stop the behaviours that animals exhibit about their sex drive (e.g. imaginary pregnancies in females, escapes in search of a mate in males).

After castration or sterilisation, the animal’s metabolism slows down and its nutritional energy requirements decrease significantly. The correct response of the carer is then to adapt the pet’s diet to the new requirements of its body. Paradoxically, during the period of stabilisation of hormone levels, the dog may show an increased appetite. He should not be allowed to take in an excessive number of calories, as this quickly leads to overweight and then obesity. It is better (and healthier) to prevent this from happening, rather than looking for ways to slim your dog down after sterilisation or neutering in the future. There are specialised foods on the market for pets who have undergone surgical contraception.

Checking progress

If you are trying to reduce your pet’s weight (especially when it concerns losing weight in a dog after sterilisation or neutering), you should be in regular contact with your vet. Knowing your pet’s medical history, as well as his or her predispositions and inclinations, the specialist can estimate whether the work on slimming down your dog’s figure is heading in the right direction. If your dog’s weight loss is going well, weight loss should progress at a rate of 1-2% per week.


How to care for Pomeranian fur?

Pomeranian is a small companion dog that is gaining...

Swimming for dogs is a healthy activity

Swimming for dogs is a wholesome activity. This is...

Running with your dog

Running with your dog is a great idea and...

How to choose playmates for your dog?

Not every domestic pooch is a fan of meeting...

Brainwork – mental activities for your dog

What is brainwork? Brainwork is a collection of mental puzzles...

More articles

How to keep your pet’s joints healthy and help him recover?

Recently, a lot has been said about joint problems in dogs. Unfortunately, they are increasingly more common and they result not only from the genetically determined predispositions of the dog, but also from rapidly developing civilization diseases. Causes of joint...

How to care for Pomeranian fur?

Pomeranian is a small companion dog that is gaining more and more popularity. This cute micro-spitz is the perfect companion for the whole family that attracts fans with its irresistible charm. Its secret is an intensely fluffy coat which makes...

Swimming for dogs is a healthy activity

Swimming for dogs is a wholesome activity. This is because, as well as helping them to cool down during the hot season, it is also a very effective form of exercise. This type of exercise has many benefits for your...

Running with your dog

Running with your dog is a great idea and the benefits alone. If you're not running with your dog yet, definitely start. If you run and don't already have a dog of your own, consider adopting one from a...

How to choose playmates for your dog?

Not every domestic pooch is a fan of meeting other pets. Many pets prefer to stay away from strange dogs and don't need their company on walks. All they need for happiness is a beloved guardian, silence and holy...

Brainwork – mental activities for your dog

What is brainwork? Brainwork is a collection of mental puzzles for your dog. The task for our pet is to work out the various mechanisms of a toy to get to the treat hidden inside. Brainwork differs from olfactory games...

Playing with your dog: 10 ideas for playing together at home

Your dog's activities do not have to be limited to walks and a simple "run". Even if you don't have time to go outside or the weather doesn't encourage it, you can still have an interesting time at home....

Playing with your dog at home? Here are the most interesting ideas

We are all feeling the changes that have taken place in the weather over recent years. In many regions, snow can only be dreamt of, while outside the window, wind and rain rule. When the weather does not inspire...

What is separation anxiety in dogs?

When a dog is left alone in the house and during this time howls, barks, and destroys, usually the diagnosis is - separation anxiety. Or at least, that's what most dog owners think. But what is it like? What...

Game ideas for a dog walk – time well spent with your pet

Walking is the moment when the dog not only attends to its physiological needs but also makes new friends with other pets, discovers the surroundings and spends a pleasant moment with its handler. The activity must therefore not last...

How much exercise does my dog need?

How much exercise does my dog need? - is one of the most common questions asked by dog owners. The right level of activity for your dog is something that needs to be paid close attention to at every...

Dog sports and how to chose the right one?

In this day and age, I think everyone knows that regular exercise is essential to staying fit and healthy. And although - perhaps - you're not a fan of exercise or going to the gym, you have to admit...