Can I Put My Dog On A Diet?

Can I Put My Dog on a Diet?Americans and their pet dogs are heading in the wrong direction when it comes to diet and fitness. There’s been an increase in obesity for awhile now and this trend continues despite a heightened awareness of the problem.

Diet, fitness and nutrition are tied to quality of life whether we’re referring to humans or canines. Let’s take a look at the health and diet needs of dogs rather than focusing on particular foods.

You don’t want your dog to suffer from obesity, and its effects, when they get older. Diet, including calorie consumption and physical activity, obviously determines your dog’s weight levels. Striking the right balance is the best approach.

Should I Start My Dog on a Diet? Answer: Yes, if needed

Weigh your pet for a good reference point by which to begin an effective doggie diet plan.

Then take into account your dog’s age and tailor a diet plan around that because it’s a major factor. Consider a special dog food that’s formulated for maintaining lean muscle and weight loss.

Fido’s Age is a Big Factor

Older dogs, since they have much lower energy needs, won’t be able to burn excess food beyond their body’s requirements. As such, senior dogs should be getting no more than 30 calories per pound of their body weight daily. You don’t want an older dog adding fat deposits especially if they’re already overweight!

Calories Verses Activity

Keep an eye on calories and use a balanced approach, being mindful by factoring in your dog’s level of physical activity. Higher calorie intake is okay as long as your dog is burning them off with activities. That’s why playing and running throughout the day is so important.

Dogs often don’t have the opportunity to be as active as they would like. Try to set aside some time each day for outdoor leisure. People don’t consciously realize that this is not a cure for boredom but it’s a health benefit.

Also consider getting a fun and interactive toy which you can use to entertain them when you are unable to do so.

You Are What You Eat!

Evaluate your dog’s food and the type of calories you are providing. There are so many questionable human snacks that we do not recommended for canine consumption. For example, you can’t expect a dog to be healthy when they’re regularly fed nachos. This is where a disciplined dog diet comes in.

Planning for a Pet Pooch

You need an actual plan and health insurance for your dog isn’t the answer. Spending just a little extra on quality dog food can really make a difference. Portion control is also key, even in younger dogs. The last 10 to 20% of your dog’s meals is what’s packing on those pounds. Ration food and over the long term you’ll notice a difference.

If you often feed your dog just about any type of table scraps, it’s probably counterproductive. Give them something healthy and grab some carrots instead for example. Just get going on a diet plan if you are serious. Don’t delay!

Regarding Special Diets

Under normal circumstances, Hill’s Science Diet Perfect Weight is highly recommended. Certain food products cater to dogs with medical conditions. There are prescription diets that slow down the effects of kidney disease, heart disease and some types of intestinal problems among other chronic conditions. These are usually prescribed to geriatric dogs and could literally be a life saver.

Talk with your vet, if your dog suffers from a serious condition, instead of trying to implement a diet change yourself.

Conclusion on a Diet Plan

Be consistent with your dog’s food portion sizes which relate to caloric intake. Also, reevaluate the dog food you are providing. The sames goes for the amount of physical activity and play time. Strictly limit treats as rewards. Spend more quality time with your best buddy. This plan will benefit both of you! Remember, if your dog is overweight only you are to blame!

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Carol January, 2016

Thank you so much for this information. As a new dog owner I look for help. My small dog is 7 kilograms and a mix. She thinks she is a giant so I have to watch her food intake.


Gayle September, 2015

I’m definitely not an expert on this but I have an older Yorkie that has had stomach problems her whole life. She got to the point where she couldn’t jump anymore and it was hard for her to just get around. I took her to the vet with the fear they were going to tell me it was time to put her down. My vet advised me to stop giving her anything with preservatives in it and suggested I cook for her.

I did a lot of research and decided to try it. It has made a drastic difference in her. She acts 10 years younger. She can jump up on the furniture again. She actually wags her tail again and has lost weight. I do give her a vitamin supplement just to ensure she gets all the nutrients she needs. It has been easy an easy transition for both of us. It has been well worth it too see the huge difference in my dog.


Rosemary June, 2015

I have a 3 year old female Yorkie. She’s extremely fussy with food and only eats, when she feels like, Cesar (chicken only) food or Mighty Dog. As for human food, only chicken and maybe occasionally pork. She doesn’t like beef or anything else. Everyone says she’s gaining weight, but she goes up to 3 days without eating a thing! She’s not a big water drinker either.

I don’t give her any chicken skin, but is it okay to have her bite off just the ends of the cooked chicken bones? As for dry, she only eats Nutro, which is an excellent brand. Is it alright to give her cooked chicken livers occasionally?

I heard it can kill her if she eats too much and it supposedly affects the pancreas. I don’t know what else to give her. She’s even fussy with certain treats and won’t eat milk bones either! I’d appreciate any advice you can give me to help make sure she’s getting enough nutrition.


Tom June, 2015

I agree with the suggestions. All good there, but I also agree that just because the label says “Dog Food” absolutely doesn’t mean it’s something you would want anything you love to eat. I toured an unnamed pet food plant a few years back and what I saw was awful. The meat and protein, the labels referenced come from 55 gallon containers of animal “sludge.” It looked awful, smelled worse and was all I needed to see to begin cooking for my animals every day. I also supplement their diets with highly regarded animal vitamins.

However, it’s not a one size fits all. A large part of this discussion includes cultural and financial considerations. Not everyone has the time or resources to cook for their pets. For folks in either category, researching the various consumer dog foods online can very quickly equip you with the information needed to make the best decision for your animal’s diet.


Monique April, 2015

I will not comment on what other folks choose one way or the other, but will share my dog’s diet with you all:

I soak 1 bag of lentils over 24 hours, then boil them for 1-2 hours. When they get mushy, I measure out 1/4 cup servings in zip-lock bags and freeze them. I use it like a paste mixed in with either fish, chicken or beef (poached – no seasoning) and steamed mixed veggies. I also add in 1/2 cup of his grain free kibble, making a stew. Sometimes he gets a 1/2 a sweet potato in there as well.

For breakfast, I make oatmeal 1-2 times a month, and scrambled eggs 1-2 times a month just to mix it up. For a nice summer cold dessert, I mix up plain yogurt and water with a sweet potato and pour into ice trays. Our dog is a 100 pound Sheprador, a registered service animal, and my little baby. His good health is extremely important. Happy cooking!


Pervein April, 2015

My baby is a 3 month old 9 kilogram Chi Apso. He is a very picky eater. I have tried feeding him a mix of chicken, vegetables and rice combo but he doesn’t touch it and will go hungry for days. Now we have started giving him dry food called Royal Canine adult. One a day for lunch and dinner we gave him boiled chicken leg plus 10 grams of chicken liver. On certain days a mixture of grated carrots, cottage cheese, rice combo and sometimes beef pan-cooked. Any other suggestions?


Tanya April, 2015

My 5 pound Pomeranian was similarly super picky when she was little. She’d regularly ignore all dog or human food prepared for her. Eventually, the vet suggested we get her on the I/D diet which is for digestive health issues. She liked the soft I/D food and that was the only soft kind she would eat. As far as hard food, I tried every good brand including Blue Buffalo, organic, gluten-free, etc. with little luck.

Eventually I stuck with Royal Canine MINI for puppies and she liked that. Now that she’s 2 years old, I’ve switched her to the adult version. She likes that also which is a big relief! Try giving her the hard food mixed with a few drops of water. It makes the food soaked and most dogs like that. Be assured it will get better. Your puppy is so small and still figuring things out. They’ll get better and eat better. Good luck!


Henrieta Sauer March, 2015

My little doggie has kidney failure. I struggle to give her food because she just doesn’t want to eat. Any suggestions?


Jessica December, 2014

What is best for dogs? Is it buying what we think to be quality dog food or cooking for them? What are the best meals to cook for them? Is it okay to feed our dog brown rice or quinoa?


James December, 2014

Hi Jessica. You are asking a very good question for which there is no agreed upon answer. Some people think premium dog food is the way to go, while others prefer canine friendly homemade meals. In regards to quinoa, yes you can try it but start out with small portions to see if it agrees with your dog. Best of luck!


Joy December, 2014

My dog is a little Miniature Pinscher and he is about 9 pounds overweight. I’ve tried everything to help him lose weight. He was fixed and everyone says that’s why he gained weight. He was my ears when I went deaf. I know he would feel so much better and have more energy. Please help me to come up with a diet for him.


Deena January, 2014

One of my dogs almost lost all of his hair. In fact, he had no hair on his tail. I suspected a thyroid problem but the vet, at the time, dismissed the idea. I found another vet, got a T-4 test and indeed his thyroid was low.

Now on Siloxine, his diet had to change to lower his weight. He gets a cooked egg, green beans, cooked chicken and broth, cheese and rice. He has lost 15 pounds. He gets plain cheerios for a snack and I have started to put them in his food. He loves it, he is full of fur, and it’s healthy. Once lethargic – he is now hopping, spinning, running and jumping.

I have also used a few drops of neem oil in some distilled water which I spray on dogs that have itchy skin.


Mary August, 2014

This is interesting, neem oil? I will look into this.


Meg January, 2014

Can you give your dog a ‘master cleanse’ diet? My dog is 15-20 pounds overweight. She is supposed to be around 55 or at least she was when we got her (she’s an 8 yr old English Lab) and she is now coming up around 70 pounds! I tried feeding her a 1:1 ratio of dry dog food with green beans and wetting the food. It is coughed up. Please help because nothing is working!


James January, 2014

Hi Meg. I am going to have to research this topic further and get back to you. It’s a good idea for a new article.


Anna November, 2012

What about a severely underweight dog?


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