Ask Doctor Dog: How Do You Help Your Dog Lose Weight?
If your dog doesn't love bacon, return it immediately. That's clearly an imposter, not a real dog. Doctor Dog here. Bacon and cheddar are my ultimate favorite treats, but I must admit: I have no willpower. I would eat all the bacon and cheese in the fridge if I had the thumbs to get it.
Sadly, I'd probably find myself feeling heftier than usual. I'd also be at risk for developing premature joint problems, diabetes and a whole host of preventable health issues. Weight problems are common in dogs, so today we're answering a friend's question about this frustrating issue.
You can ask me any questions whenever you want. Then look for my responses in my Dear Doctor Dog advice column on Always Pets.
The Question: Is Putting Your Dog on a Diet a Good Idea?
Dear Doctor Dog,
I have a 7-year-old pug, and over the past couple of years, he has put on quite a bit of weight. I feed him the amount recommended on the bag for his size, and I try to walk him regularly, but he doesn't make it more than half a block before he starts pulling to go back home. Sometimes, he just sits.
I know keeping him at a healthy weight is important, but I'm not sure what else to try. Any advice?
— Craig Benson from El Segundo, California
Doctor Dog's Answer: Weight Management Is Easier Than You'd Think
Give yourself a belly rub because noticing a change in your pet's health is the first step to getting back on the right track. Being overweight can put your dog at risk for problems like heart disease and diabetes, so it's a valid concern.
To start, 7 is a good age to switch your dog to a food formulated for seniors. It doesn't contain as much fat and will help to keep your pug pal from packing on more pounds. Make sure you're feeding him a high-quality dog food without unhealthy fillers, too.
When a dog is overweight, long walks can be uncomfortable. Encourage him to get moving with games of fetch, trips to the dog park or playtime with his favorite squeaky toy. Anything that motivates him to move is fair game.
One last thing. As a dog, I can confirm: People food is so much tastier than dog food. We love it. (I once stole an entire roast chicken from the countertop. #NoRegrets) But too many table scraps add up, so make sure everyone in the family knows to save treats for special occasions.
Have fun, and stay pawsitive.
— Doctor Dog
More Infurmation About Keeping Your Dog at a Healthy Weight
Have a Question for Doctor Dog?
Leave any questions for me, and look for my responses in my Dear Doctor Dog advice column on Always Pets. Have questions about cats, bunnies, hamsters or any other critters? Shoot! I may be a dog myself, but I'm here to help all your animal companions, whether they have four legs or fins.
Important reminder: Doctor Dog is happy to provide general pet care guidance, but she cannot provide formal medical recommendations or diagnoses for your pet. Your pet's veterinarian should always be your primary resource for serious questions regarding your pet's health.