Health & medical treatment

Topic: Need to lose weight


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  • We’ve got to cut a few pounds off our dog. Heard some friend said we shouldn’t cut food portion, instead, we need to switch to a low-protein-low-calorie diet. Is this right? Can’t we just cut the food portion of our current diet?


    Dr Renata Snow

      Hi Jane,

      There are several ways to lose weight – and which way is best depends on what food, and how much, you are currently feeding now. My advice:

      1. Start weighing or measuring out all the food you give each day (including treats!), if you haven’t already.
      2. Control treats – either cut them out altogether, or set aside some of your dog’s daily food allowance to use for treats throughout the day. (E.g. if your dog gets 200g dry food per day, give it 180g in its regular meals and save 20g to use as treats.)
      3. Reduce the total amount fed (yes, this is a valid and important option in most cases). To avoid making your dog feel sad/hungry, try reducing the quantity gradually (exact guidelines e.g. by 10%, by 20%, by grammes will depend on the individual dog – best ask your vet).
      4. Depending on your dog’s current diet, and provided your dog doesn’t need to be on another prescription diet, consider switching to a higher-fibre, lower-calorie weight loss diet. This will help your dog feel full on fewer calories.
      5. Try swapping out some of the dog food for cooked, non-starchy vegetables – again to add fibre and reduce calories.

      Overall, you should aim for gradual rather than sudden weight loss, and once you get to your desired weight you should then feed to maintain this weight. It helps if you pop your dog into your vet’s every few weeks just to put him/her on the scales. In terms of what your desired weight should be, your vet is the best person to advise but a common guideline is that you should be able to feel the ribs but not see them.

      Hope that helps!


      Dr Renata Snow

        But in answer to your question – generally if a dog isn’t *very* overweight, you’re probably fine to try cutting the food portion first. If you’re still not getting anywhere, then consider a weight loss diet further down the line.

        Thank you so much for your detailed advice, Dr Renata. It really helps me get started 🙂

        I want to try exploring a higher-fibre, lower-calorie diet. But not sure if I understand food label on my dry food package correctly. Comparing calerie content is easy, it says kcal/g. However, when it comes to fibre, the “Guaranteed Analysis” on my food says “crude fibre (max) is 5%. Then am I right to look for a diet with a higher percent than 5%?

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