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The Overweight Dog Epidemic


Do you have an overweight dog? This is a very sensitive topic for many dog moms and dads, and I can relate. Despite all of my intentions and wanting to do right by my dog, he still managed to gain a few unnecessary pounds. I was over-treating and overfeeding my dog without even realizing it. I’ve taken to measuring Dexter’s food and setting treats aside for the day so I don’t go overboard. In the past few months, my dog has managed to lose a few unnecessary pounds. I am grateful for this because:

A) it means he is healthier in the long run

B) he just had cruciate ligament surgery and extra weight is not good for the long road to recovery and rehab

It is estimated that 55 percent of dogs and cats in the United States are overweight. We’re posting a fun and informative chart of info below that lists general caloric intake requirements and healthy eating tips. Always double check with your vet or a veterinary nutritionist for true caloric requirements, as every dog’s metabolism and bodily needs are different.

How can you tell if a dog is overweight?

Feel around his ribs and spine; you should be able to locate both, with only a thin layer f fat separating skin from bones. If you are unable to find the ribcage, you have an overweight dog.  Viewing the dog from above, you should be able to see a moderate narrowing at the waist just past the ribcage. A large and drooping abdomen is another sign that your pet is overweight.  A bulging line from the ribcage to the hips indicates an overweight dog. Ask your veterinarian to evaluate your dog’s size at every check-up.   Once your canine has reached maturity, ask for his optimal weight.overweight_pets

What I did about it (and you can, too):

  • Talk to your vet about why the dog is overweight . It could be an underlying medical condition.
  • Move. A good starting point is a regular walk around the park or neighborhood, with gradual increases. Rainy days, cold days and/or snowy days do not make for good excuses. Reference the Fidose of Reality blog post for indoor fun.
  • Portion control. Keep the treats you plan to give Fido in a handy snack bag. Allocate that day’s treats. When the bag is empty, treats are done. Make it rewarding for the dog. Try stuffing a Kong toy with green bean pieces, low-fat snacks and other items like Zuke’s salmon bits. Only 3 calories a piece and a natural healthy alternative. Watch for sugars added as filler to many store-bought treats.
  • Switch foods gradually. Me, who thought she knew all about dog food learned of dehydrated food recently. I cannot begin to express how thrilled I am with The Honest Kitchen. Having worked behind the scenes of the dog world for years, I’d always entertained the idea of dehydrated food but never committed.  We are now ardent fans of Embark and mix in some organic lean ground beef with it. My dog licks the bowl clean. Bonus points for flavor options, ease of storage and preparation (add water, wait, mix, feed), and the firmness of stools. Double bonus Cocker points because my finicky friend loves the stuff. Oh and you can add veggies, supplements, and more if you so choose.

Fidose asks: What are your favorite tips for keeping your dog’s weight down? Have you had success with canine weight loss? Bark at us below in the comments.

Pet Obesity in America infographic by PetSafe



  1. June Myers says

    Great tips, Buster is ideal on his weight and size. Jack is overweight, vet said until we get his diabetes and amounts of insulin right it will be hard to regulate his weight. He is at 14lbs and should be 10lbs. Great charts.

  2. Rebekah says

    Great point. The illustrations are wonderful too. I strive to keep my crew lean, and was just noticing that my big boy is looking a little thick. Time to cut back on his portions.

  3. Virgil S says

    I give my dog sweet potatoes but have learned to not give her too much because she starts getting a little chunky. She is just about ideal according to the chart, also thanks for the tip on Embark, I am going to give it a try.

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