Pet Lovers

Slimming down an overweight dog

My family just adopted a dear, sweet 3-year old yellow lab – Chloe – who has fit right into our family like she has always been with us. The poor thing however, has more than a few lbs to lose. Her previous owners didn’t walk her too often (as they admitted) and she regularly got into the family’s food – in the garbage, on the counter, from the baby’s highchair. Well, those days are over as we are conducting our own “Biggest Loser” program for Chloe (of course we are not going that extreme). While she may be adorable in her chubby state, it’s for her own health that we help her to slim down a bit. In addition to obvious reasons such as dogs who are not overweight have more energy, labs are prone to joint problems and hip dysplasia - both conditions are aggravated by excess weight.

We have had her for almost a month and she has already lost at least 5 pounds. The way for dogs to lose weight is the same as people  - less food, more exercise! Here is what we are doing – not rocket science, but it will help her to live a longer, healthier, more active life:

Establish two feeding times a day, no free feeding. This was interesting because when we first got Chloe she wasn’t interested in dry food at all, I think she was so used to grabbing food from the counter. After just a few days, however, she was eating breakfast and dinner when the bowl of food was presented to her.

No people food. I know some people feed their dogs from their plates, but this doesn’t work for us. Our kids know to not give her any food, and we are vigilant with keeping food out of her reach.

Exercise! We started by taking Chloe for 2 or 3 short walks each day. Her tongue would be hanging past her chin after about five minutes. Now she has jogged 3 miles with me a few times, and she is still keeping a good pace at the finish.

Lay off the dog treats. My kids love giving the dogs treats, but I have to tell them to lay off. They break the treats in half to keep rewards in check. Small pieces of apples and carrots are just as rewarding for dogs as well.


7 Responses to “Slimming down an overweight dog”

  1. Hello…I know all of you over there are animal lovers. I live in Michigan and in my state they are planning to put to sleep a stray Pit Bull mix when literally thousands of rescues and shelters are willing to take the dog. It is all over the news and internet, but we could really use some support. His Facebook page is above and below and PLEASE at least take a look. The Mayor of Detroit can save his life and we need to encourage him to do so!!! http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Save-Ace/270120956356507

  2. Kathy K says:

    Dogs do not taste or chew their food. They don’t know the difference from a pea or a half a pound of hambuger. The just swallow. That helps me keep my dog slim.

  3. Sheri A says:

    We keep our dogs pounds down by 2-3 walks a day and smaller meals 2x a day. Veggie/fruit snacks also help our pugX. (who loves to eat and eat, from our garden, to bugs to anything!)
    AS for the comment from Kathy K, our dog CAN taste the difference of many foods, we buy lots of fresh fruit and veggies, and we live by apple/fruit orchards and our little girl knows the varieties and will spit out apples/’pears she does not like. (along with other foods)

  4. Peggie says:

    Green Beans are great to mix with less dry food than normal to fill a dog up, so they dont feel deprived. Green beans are great for them and empty calories.

  5. Jeanne says:

    I have had golden retrievers in my life. Both being big dogs with blue ribbon family lineage. Years ago my vet told me to supplement their diet with veggies. Now with my second golden and adopted beagle mix I supplement their snacks with fresh fruit and veggies. They love it. And, yes, they can taste. They will not eat mushrooms. They get prepared carrots and string beans for dinner with chicken broth. Love my 2 girls!!!!! And they never say no to apples or oranges.

  6. Maribel says:

    I love all these ideas. My dogs love baby carrots so I think we will start sharing more healhy snacks and cutting back on the doggie treats.

  7. Leann Barber says:

    I have a wonderful black lab who is 5 yrs old, but he is overweight. As a nurse I know the problems that could arise with him being overweight. So I spoke with my dog groomer who is also a nutritionist that told me to give him half his original dog food and 1 cup of rice puffs and 1/2 cup of green beans. This way he still thinks he is getting the same amount of food but at a healthier serving. He has been on his diet for 2 weeks and does look as though he is slimming down. I will continue to keep him on this and make sure the grand babies are not sharing their food or treats with him.

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