The Art of Managing Your Dog’s Weight

These pages have advice on keeping your dog at a healthy weight and how to slim them down if they are already overweight.

Lots of veterinary advice is rather harsh, if accurate: ‘just feed less and exercise more’.  We at GOdogs appreciate that although that is the essence of weight management, putting it in practice is not always easy.  That’s particularly true in dogs who have the POMC mutation or which are very food-oriented for other reasons.

So here you will find straightforward tips but also some broader help so you can master the ‘art’ of maintaining your dog at a healthy weight.

The art keeping your dog’s weight healthy

Some owners report that it is easy to keep their dog thin.  That can be true – some dogs self-regulate their eating.  Often, though, what’s really going on is that those people are actually doing a very sophisticated job, but instinctively. Things owners of slim, greedy dogs do well are:

  • Noticing changes in their dog’s weight and body fat then responding.  The response is the important bit: altering the food and exercise their dog’s weight changes.  If the ribs are getting harder to see or feel, they cut back on food or increase regular exercise.  Once their dogs are back at a healthy weight, they increase portion sizes a little.
  • Looking to the future – predicting what things are coming that might change their dogs’ weight.  Perhaps dark days in winter mean shorter walks; cutting back on food a little in the autumn can prevent weight gain.
  • Remembering it is all the food that passes their dogs’ lips that matters, not just what goes in the bowl.  If the baby drops lunch on the floor and the dog cleans it up, they cut down the amount the dog gets that night in its bowl.  If they use biscuits in training, they take them from the dinner allowance.
  • Keeping track of the energy dogs get in food and remembering  dogs don’t need much!  They know half a can of tinned food is the equivalent calories of half a cup (less than a 120ml wine glass) of dried food.  They know a single treat biscuit or dental chew has as many calories as a digestive biscuit – and that can be 10% of what their dog needs each day.
  • Being realistic about how much exercise their dogs need and get.  You can keep an inactive dog slim, but it’s a lot easier (and life is more fun) for dogs which get lots of exercise.

Fortunately, we can all learn the same skills.  Click here for practical tips on how to do do it.