Weight Management in Dogs

overweight dog carried by vet

Most of us know that being overweight is something that is guaranteed to have a negative impact on our health. Therefore, many of us are careful about what we eat and ensure we get enough exercise to keep our weight at a reasonable level. Unfortunately, many pet owners fail to extend the same courtesy to their pets.

Weight management is just as important for our animals as it is for us, and if your canine companion becomes overweight, his health will suffer too. Diabetes, joint problems such as osteoarthritis, high blood pressure and heart disease are all more likely in those animals who carry excess weight. Therefore, as responsible and diligent owners it is our job to help our dogs maintain a healthy weight so that they can enjoy a long, active and healthy life.

What does weight management in pets involve?

There are two key principles involved in any weight management program whether it is for humans or animals. Unsurprisingly, they are diet and exercise.

A diet for weight management

Whether your dog is underweight, overweight or somewhere in the middle, what and how much you feed him is predominantly responsible. Unfortunately, the number of canines in the U.S. who are classed as overweight is rising, and there are a few factors to blame.

Overfeeding is a common problem and is often a result of a practise known as free-feeding. This is where an owner does not monitor the amount of food being given to their pet but instead tops up their food bowl throughout the day. Sharing too many snacks is equally to blame. We all love to treat our pets from time to time but giving them too many high fat or high sugar goodies can make them put on weight extremely easily.

If our veterinarian has recommended that your pet lose weight, you may be directed to certain weight management foods. These are nutritionally designed to help aid weight loss. Equally there are also products created with the purpose of helping animals to gain weight if necessary.

Should your dog be of a healthy weight now, you will need to ensure that he remains so by carefully monitoring what and how often he eats.

Exercise for weight management in pets

Exercise is not only good for weight management, it is also beneficial for your pet’s heart, lungs and overall body. Nevertheless, it is essential that your furbaby burns off any extra calories that he consumes to stop him putting on weight and the easiest way to do this is through exercise.

Walking and hiking are two of the best ways to keep your pet healthy and provide a great opportunity for exploring and bonding with one another. Ideally your dog should have at least two short walks each day, and most owners incorporate a much longer venture during their days off of work.

Swimming is another great way to ensure your canine gets sufficient exercise. However, just remember that not all dogs are natural-born swimmers and it is essential to teach your dog how to be safe in the water. Even then, never leave your pet unattended when swimming. Many owners choose to purchase life vests which help aid pet buoyancy and enable your pooch to have plenty of fun without worrying so much about staying afloat.

Walking, hiking and swimming are all very well in the summer months, but how can you be sure that your dog is getting enough exercise when the weather is bad? After all, it is essential that your dog receives ample opportunity for physical activity all year round.

Underwater treadmills are one of the latest and most exciting developments in doggy exercises, combining the benefits of walking and running with those of being in water. This is especially beneficial for older canines, those with osteoarthritis, and those who have previously suffered injuries. This is because walking in water offers a low-impact but high-resistance type of exercise that can help with managing the weight of your dog.

If the weather or your pet’s circumstances means that other types of exercise are out of the question, consider using an underwater pet treadmill.

If you have concerns about the weight of your pet and would like further advice on weight management, contact our Parkland, FL clinic and arrange an appointment with our veterinarian.

Providing the very best in veterinary care, and the ability to establish innovated programs.


Parkland Animal Clinic & Big Bear Pet Lodge​​​​​​​
8017 N. University Dr
Parkland, FL 33067

Fax: 954-757-3990
EMAIL US: Parklandanimalclinic@gmail.com