Obese Dog? Here’s How to Help Your Dog Lose Weight

. 3 min read

Think you might have an obese dog? Cover your pet’s ears for a minute—we need to talk about his weight. You’ve been trying to pretend that you don’t see it, but the pounds have been packing on and now he’s two bacon strips away from looking like the dog who ate your dog.

You might think your pudgy dog looks cute, but this isn’t about appearance. It’s unhealthy and even life-threatening for a dog to be obese. And it’s more common than you think. Data shows that 60 percent of dogs are overweight and half of those dogs are obese. Here’s how to tell if your dog needs to lose weight.

How Can I Help My Dog Lose Weight?

If you’ve established the fact that your dog is obese and needs to lose some weight, it’s time to get serious about slimming down. Here are 10 tips to get you started on your dog’s weight loss plan.

  1. Visit the vet. Make an appointment and get your vet’s input on a target weight and an ideal calorie count for your obese dog. Not only will you be getting sound medical advice, it will make you more accountable. Before you leave, make a follow-up appointment for six months. Viola! Now you’ll have some explaining to do if you don’t follow through.

  2. Reduce your dog’s caloric intake and swap out empty nutrition. If you’ve been filling the dog bowl with a scoop of food anytime you see it empty, it’s time to regulate meal time. Now that you have a calorie count in mind, break it down into two mini meals. This will give your dog a steady intake of calories and he won’t notice the reduction as much. (Pro tip: set alarms or reminders on your smartphone to help you build a habit.) And remember that all calories are not created equal. Swapping starch-loaded kibble with wholesome food will not only give him more bang for each calorie buck, but will change the trajectory of his health.

  3. Replace your dog’s snacks with other rewards. Is spoonful of peanut butter a necessary snack for your dog?. Toys, belly rubs and play are all excellent non-caloric subs. You can also use foods like raw carrots or blueberries as treats.

  1. Weigh your dog regularly, and at the same time of day. Create a spreadsheet to track your dog’s weight. Once every week or two is a good measure, but make sure it’s at the same time of day for best accuracy.

  2. Add 15 minutes of exercise time. We’re all busy, but anyone can find a15 minutes of time to spare per day. A brisk 15-minute walk with your dog will give him cardio strength, burn some calories, and allow just enough time for you to capture and post a pelfie (that’s a pet selfie). Bonus: this will help you get in your 10,000 steps, too! Have a bit more time? Try one of these dog-friendly workouts.

  1. Watch for patterns in your dog’s weight. Your spreadsheet will help you track progress and display patterns you might otherwise miss. For example, if weight loss stagnates or reverses, it could indicate a hormonal issue like hypothyroidism.

  2. Take your dog out with you more often. No, he’s not welcome in your spin class, but you could probably take your dog more places than you realize. And when you’re counting calories burned, all those extra little trips can add up and help your dog lose weight.

  3. Make a playdate. Getting together with another dog and owner takes the playtime pressure off you. You and your pal can sip chai lattes and talk politics while the dogs play at the dog park.

  4. Don’t feed your dog table scraps.. Yes, it was an effective way to pre-rinse dishes before putting them in the dishwasher, but letting the dog lick up all those fatty, salty calories is bad news. Even one serving of high salt, high fat table scraps is enough to spike your dog's blood pressure to dangerous levels and screw with his digestion.

  5. Have a weight maintenance plan for your dog. Once you reach your dog’s ideal weight, you’ll need a plan for maintaining it. Consult your vet again to determine what that should look like. (Hint: it doesn’t look like the pre-diet plan, which got you in this sitch to begin with. Just saying’.) Generally speaking, this should be the resting rate of your dog, plus extra for the amount of exercise that is part of your new routine.

The Ollie blog is devoted to helping pet parents lead healthier lives with their pups. If you want to learn more about our fresh, human-grade food, check out MyOllie.com.



Gabby Slome

NYC native. Certified canine nutritionist. Equestrian. World traveler. Columbia Business School grad. Healthy eater. Mom to the best mutt in the world, (well according to me), Pancho.