Dog Weight Management: Tips to Achieve an Ideal Weight for Dogs
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Just like in humans, obesity can lead to serious health issues in dogs as well. The primary causes of obesity in dogs are lack of physical activities, imbalanced diet, and overfeeding. If you notice a sudden increase in your dog’s weight despite having a normal diet and sufficient exercise, it could also be a sign of some hormonal disorder. Obese dogs are at risk of developing diabetes, heart diseases, bone deterioration, arthritis, and other severe disorders. Thus, it is crucial to monitor your dog’s weight.
Understanding your dog’s weight category
Wondering what is the ideal weight for dogs? A dog’s healthy weight can differ from breed to breed; hence, you can consult your vet to understand the right weight range for your pet. However, the below dog weight chart will help you get an idea on whether your furry friend is underweight, healthy, or obese.
You can clearly see an underweight dog’s ribs, spine, and hip bone. There is zero body fat and that can be seen on its body. In dogs who are genetically thin, the loss of muscle mass may be evident.
You can easily feel the ribs, spine and hips of a dog that falls in an ideal weight category. Its waist should also be visible from above and the side. The last couple of ribs may be visible on a short-coated dog while playing or exercising, which is normal.
A dog is considered overweight when it weighs 10-20% more than its ideal body weight. It is difficult to feel the ribs of these dogs. The fat accumulation is also visible at the base of its tail and on the belly. Its back also starts to appear broader. It is advisable to start working on shedding the extra kilos your dog has gained at this stage.
A dog is considered overweight when it weighs 20% more than its ideal weight. You cannot feel its ribs at all due to the heavy fat accumulation. Fat deposits are also visible around the dog’s neck and its belly also starts to droop.
How to Measure Dog’s Weight
You can measure your dog’s weight at home if your dog is a small breed. Here are the steps to follow while measuring the weight of your dog at home:
Step 1: Stand on the weighing scale and take note of your weight
- Step 2: Carry your dog securely and stand on the weighing scale. Take note of the combined weight that the scale indicates
- Step 3: Subtract your weight from the combined weight to know how much your dog weighs.
These steps should not be followed by those who have medium or large breed dogs. The size of your dog could make it difficult for you to hold it properly, and if it starts fidgeting, the handler or the dog could get injured. Hence, owners of medium and large breed dogs should go to the vet to weigh their pet.
How to keep your dog at a healthy weight?
You can easily manage your dog’s obesity and maintain the ideal weight of your dog if you follow a regime and take the necessary steps. Here’s are some things you should keep in mind during your dog’s weight management:
Avoid feeding home-cooked foods
Dogs remain healthy if their food quantity is controlled and they are fed on time. But you should avoid feeding your dog home-cooked food. Wondering why? It is because home-cooked meals might not have the right nutrients in the right quantities and that can later affect your furry friend’s overall health. Hence, to keep such risks at bay, it is best that you avoid feeding home-cooked food. In case you plan on giving your dog home-cooked meals, it is imperative that you follow the recipe to the T.
Refrain from sharing food with your dog
Your dog is your friend so, it's hard not to share your delicious bacon or a mouthful of steak with it. When your dog sits next to you and makes those adorable puppy-dog eyes as you eat, it becomes even more difficult to not share some of your food with it. But you must resist. Giving “human food” greatly increases your dog’s fat intake. It also conditions the dog to believe that it will be fed every time you eat.
Follow an exercise plan
Exercise is a great way to keep your dog in shape. If you have a busy schedule, then you could break it down into short sessions to play fun games like tug-of-war or go for a quick jog with your dog. You could also play with a frisbee or start working on its agility. Dogs that get enough exercise are less likely to be stressed and this way, you would also get a break from your work.
Do not overfeed dog treats
Of course, you want to reward a dog when it’s been a good boy or a good girl. But keep in mind that those dog treats can add calories and fat. And more importantly, think about how many types of treats and snacks you are feeding your dog and how often.
Check for health issues
Most of the time, dogs are overweight because they are taking in more calories than they burn. But it's possible there's a bigger problem. If you've tried to control your dog's diet and increase exercise and haven't seen any results yet, consult your veterinarian about thyroid disease or other metabolic or hormonal disorders.
Don't feel discouraged if you don't see results right away. The fight against obesity is fought one day at a time. It is the inculcation of good habits and discipline. By following the tips above and increasing your willpower and patience your dog’s weight management will be an easier and healthy process.
Choose a good pet food brand
There are lots of dog foods available in the market and each pack contains different quantities of proteins, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. You must go for foods that provide complete nutrition to your furry friend, and not just calories. Hence, it is necessary to opt for a pet food brand that specialises in dog nutrition.
At IAMS™, we have been focusing on bringing out the best in your dog through healthy food. Explore our range of dog food and choose a product that best suits your dog’s size and age. However, consult your vet regarding the serving size and other details. A vet will also provide you with the tips and tricks on keeping your dog’s weight under control.
Benefit of IAMS™ dog food
- Balanced nutrition: Every IAMS™ product offers complete and balanced nutrition to your dog. It is loaded with proteins, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.
- Lip-smacking taste: IAMS™ dog foods are made with love to whet your furry friend’s appetite. Our products taste so good, your dog won’t leave a trace of it on the bowl.
- Tailor-made: We have a range of dog foods, formulated specially for dogs of all ages and breed sizes. Since every dog breed has unique nutritional needs, it is imperative to ensure that you choose foods that offer the right amounts of nourishment to your dog per serving.
- How do I know if my dog’s weight is right?
- Is it bad if I can feel my dog's spine?
- Can walking my dog help him lose weight
- Why is my dog overweight but doesn't eat much?
If your dog has the ideal weight, you will see that its waist narrows down behind the ribs. When you look from above and see that the waist and ribs of your dog fall in one line or even if the waist is bulging out, it indicates that your dog is overweight. The dog weight chart in this article will help you identify if your dog is in good shape.
If your dog is in the ideal weight category, you will be able to feel its spine and ribs with a little fat. But if you can distinctly see its ribs and spine, and its waist also sharply dips behind the ribs, then it means that your dog is undernourished and needs to gain weight.
Yes, walking is one of the most efficient and wholesome exercises that will prove beneficial in helping your dog lose weight.
A sharp increase in the dog’s weight may cannot always be blamed on the amount of food it eats. On many occasions, it may be because of the change in your dog’s metabolism or hormonal disorders as well.
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- adp_description_block497Nutrition for Large- and Giant-Breed Adult Dogs
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Healthy joints and proper weight are especially important for dogs that grow to be more than 50 pounds. But not all large- and giant-breed adult dogs have the same nutritional needs. Is your dog getting proper exercise? Is she about to have puppies? Special conditions can dramatically affect your dog’s nutritional demands. Giving her a food specially formulated for her large size, life stage and activity level is the easiest way to make sure she’s getting the nutrients she needs.
Choosing a Food for Overall Health
To address the special needs of your large- or giant-breed dog, look for these features:
- Less fat to help maintain an ideal body condition for less joint stress
- Vitamin-rich fish oils for healthy skin, shiny coat and overall health
- Essential vitamins and minerals to help support the immune system and help maintain good health
- High-quality animal-based protein sources to help maintain muscle tone
- A moderately fermentable fiber source, such as beet pulp, to maintain intestinal health, enhance your dog's ability to absorb nutrients, and reduce backyard cleanup
- A carbohydrate blend to help sustain energy by maintaining normal blood sugar levels
These components are key to good nutrition. Look for them in treats, wet dog food, or dry dog food, such as IAMS™ ProActive Health™ Adult Large Breed.
Maintaining Healthy Joints and Cartilage
Joint health is a big concern for owners of large- and giant-breed dogs. A large- or giant-breed formula that contains high-quality protein can help nourish healthy joints. Vitamins and minerals help promote the production of cartilage. Also, keeping your dog at a healthy weight will help minimize joint stress.
Guarding Against Weight Gain
Dogs with lower activity levels and dogs that have been neutered or spayed are all prone to weight gain. Controlling your dog’s weight is an important step toward protecting against the health effects of excess weight, such as diabetes or joint health problems. If you use a weight-management food, look for these characteristics:
- A reduced fat level that still offers essential nutrients for skin and coat health
- L-carnitine, a key nutrient that helps burn fat and maintain muscle mass during weight loss
- Special carbohydrate blends that help maintain energy while managing weight
- Vitamin-rich fish oils for overall health
Providing Nutrition During Pregnancy
Pregnant dogs have substantial nutrition requirements. Starting in the seventh week of her pregnancy, a mother dog will need to increase her energy intake up to 50% by the time she gives birth and increase it even more when she starts nursing her puppies. Because she may lose her appetite at times, it's important that she eats a nutrient-dense food. A complete, balanced puppy formula can give her the extra nutrients she needs. But avoid puppy food created for large and giant breeds; these formulas contain specially adjusted levels of energy and minerals that may not be sufficient for a pregnant or nursing dog.
Switching to a Mature Diet
Dogs who grow to be more than 50 pounds are considered mature or senior at age 5 or 6, which is earlier than small-breed dogs. So, it’s critical to make a proactive transition to a specially formulated mature diet, such as IAMS™ ProActive Health™ Mature Adult Large Breed, to help keep your dog healthy and active as she ages.
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