Overweight is the most common nutrition-related illness in dogs. A dog is overweight if its weight is 15 % more than the ideal weight. Tendency to get overweight increases with age. It is more common in females than males, and twice as common in spayed/neutered dogs than unsprayed/unneutered dogs. The most common reason for overweight is the imbalance between food intake and exercise. There may also be other reasons for overweight, e.g. hormonal or psychological reasons. The patient should always be thoroughly examined before starting a diet.
Overweight exposes the dog to the following illnesses and problems:
When losing weight off an overweight dog, energy consumption should be higher than energy intake. Losing weight does not happen in an instant, it usually takes weeks. The saying “a day for human, a week for dog” is true when it comes to weight loss. The dog should be weighed every week and You should keep tract of its weight.
It is beneficial for weight loss to feed the dog three, or even preferably 5-6 times a day, but keep the portions small. Small portions several times a day are more efficient to weight loss than large portions consumed only rarely.
You should not feed leftovers to the dog or give food from the table to it. Overweight dogs, like humans, do not eat treats because they are hungry, but because it is a habit and they like food. Usually a complete change in the diet is recommended. Success is rare if the dog is fed the same food as previously but only less of it. The goal is to give the dog an amount of food that is equivalent to 60 % of the amount of the old food.
The dog’s diet can consist of home food or commercial food for overweight dogs, such as Hill’s Prescription Diet r/d or w/d, Waltham Canine Obesity or Weight Control, Virbac Adult Light or Hypocalorique and Specific CRD, all of which can be ordered from the clinic. If You give Your dog any of these foods, You should not give anything else to it, as even small amounts of other food, vitamins or minerals may ruin the diet.
Suitable diet home foods are:
|Boiled, non-fat meat||200 kcal/100g||840kJ/100g|
|Cottage cheese||100 kcal/100g||420kJ/100g|
|Grated or boiled
carrots or other vegetables
|Oatmeal porridge||60 kcal/100g||250kJ/100g|
Make sure that the dog receives all the necessary minerals and vitamins.
Normal energy requirement for an adult dog
|Weight||Average need of calories kcal/kg (kJ/kg)||60 % of the requirement kcal/kg (kJ/kg)||60 % of the requirement per day|
|1.0||140 (587)||84 (352)||84 (352)|
|2.5||110 (461)||66 (276)||165 (691)|
|5.0||90 (377)||54 (226)||270 (1131)|
|10.0||60 (314)||45 (189)||450 (1886)|
|15.0||65 (272)||39 (163)||585 (2451)|
|20.0||60 (251)||36 (151)||720 (3017)|
|30.0||55 (230)||33 (138)||990 (4148)|
|50.0||50 (209)||31 (126)||1500 (6285)|
Notice that the required amount of calories per kilo decreases as weight increases.
Examples of food amounts for dogs of different sizes
|Weight (kg)||Meat (g)||Cottage cheese (g)||Carrot (vegetable) (g)||Porridge (g)||Total kcal||(kcal/100g)|
If You wish to feed home-cooked food to the dog, we suggest that You contact a nutritionist (Kulkurinputtiikki, tel. 044 0126 021, www.kulkurinputtiikki.com), who can help You plan a diet for Your dog.
For an overweight dog, moderate exercise is also recommended in addition to the diet. 10-15 minutes of walking 2-3 times a day is a suitable amount. You can gradually add exercising but be careful not to strain the dog. The amount of exercise depends on the condition of the dog.
During the first couple of weeks, weight loss is slower, as the body is slowly adjusting to the new situation.