How to Help Your Overweight Dog Lose Weight


Want to know a simple secret that can help your overweight dog lose weight? And live longer, too?
Dog Overweight
To be successful, every weight loss plan must be based upon one simple principle

Dogs that consume fewer calories than they burn lose weight

Simple, right? Yet if weight loss was truly that easy, why are so many pets overweight?

An Epidemic of Overweight Dogs

Today, dogs are fatter than ever. It’s now estimated that 45% of all U.S. dogs are either overweight or obese.1

That’s 35 million dogs.

What’s worse, obesity can be life-threatening, too. An overweight dog is more likely to suffer from a disabling medical condition like…

  • Diabetes
  • Arthritis
  • Heart disease
  • Lung disorders
  • High blood pressure
  • Immune dysfunction
  • Cancerous tumors

Add Two Extra Years
to Your Dog’s Life

A recent study proves that dogs maintaining ideal body weight live almost two years longer (and with significantly less disease) than their overweight siblings.2

An overweight dog is more likely to die at a younger age

In other words, you can add nearly two extra years to your dog’s life just by maintaining your pet’s ideal weight.

A Couch Potato Eating Machine

Unfortunately, many fail to recognize a fat dog.

Veterinarians report that although nearly 50% of all the dogs they see are overweight, only 17% of pet owners agree.

It can sometimes be difficult for an owner to admit her 80 pound dog is 20 pounds overweight — not just “big-boned”.

Every day I hear pet owners comment, “How can he be overweight? He hardly eats anything”.

Obesity is frequently indicative that our dogs are sedentary, couch potato eating machines burning almost no calories.

The Solution

The obesity equation is actually very simple. Dogs that consume more calories than they burn gain weight.

So, to lose weight…

Your dog must eat less — and exercise more

That’s all there is to successful weight loss. Best of all, if you work out together, exercise can be great for you, too.

The Goal
Your Dog’s Ideal Weight

Start your plan by knowing your dog’s ideal weight. Not only can your veterinarian help you do this, but she can also screen your pet for certain conditions that can contribute to obesity…

  • Diabetes
  • Cushing’s Disease
  • Hypothyroidism

You can also visit the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention for some suggested weight ranges for specific breeds.

How to Calculate Calories
for Weight Loss

Once you know your dog’s ideal weight, you’ll be able to discover the amount of calories to feed your dog daily to achieve steady weight loss.

Use the Advisor’s dog food calculator to determine this important number.

While most dogs will experience predictable weight loss when fed this amount each day, others may require even fewer calories. This can depend on a dog’s age and activity level.

The Problem with a Dog Food Label

Label recommendations are designed for weight maintenance… not weight loss. Following these instructions will likely lead to continued gains.

To control weight, you must know how many calories are in a cup of food. Then, feed according to calories.

Also, if your dog is severely overweight, your vet may need to help you design a custom weight loss program for your pet.

The Wrong Way to Feed a Dog

Many dogs are fed free choice — which means food is available 24 hours a day. So, the dog eats whenever it wants.

Free choice feeding is completely unnatural for any mammal. And (just like us humans), a dog will eat when bored — instead of just when hungry.

What’s more, free feeding can contribute to unnatural hormonal changes — which can make weight loss even more challenging.

And the Right Way

A dog should be fed two to four small portions a day. And the total number of calories for all meals and treats must equal the number of calories desired for weight loss.

If your schedule makes it difficult to follow this strategy, there are timed automatic feeders that can help your pet get the right amount of food.

And only at specific times.

Don’t Guess — Measure

It’s critical to actually measure your dog’s food. Never guess. Use an 8 ounce measuring cup… not a coffee cup or a food scoop.

Then be sure to dispense the exact amount of food called for in your calculations.

The Trouble with Most
Weight Loss Foods

Although there are many foods marketed for canine weight loss, not all are created equal. Products described as “diet”, “lite” or “reduced-calorie” may not be the best choice.

Many of these recipes replace meat content with high levels of carbohydrate fillers. This creates a low-calorie, bulky food that helps your dog feel full.

But only for a short time. Some aren’t very tasty and most tend to cause an increase in stool production.

These products can lead to dogs who are constantly hungry. Many times pets even gain weight due to the difficulty of staying on track in the face of persistent begging.

Most regular maintenance diets are high in calories (usually between 450 and 550 calories per cup or per can) making it easy to overfeed your pet.

Less Food — More Begging

While weight loss can sometimes be achieved by feeding less of your dog’s regular maintenance food, you’ll find you must feed very small amounts to achieve the reduced number of calories required to lose weight.

This leads to a pet that may feel less satisfied and begs more.

What to Look for
in an Ideal Weight Loss Product

For successful weight loss, choose a quality dog food with…

  • Above-average protein3
  • Below-average fat4
  • Below-average calories5

A higher protein content helps a dog feel more satisfied with less begging. This makes it easier for you to stick to the diet.

These products also help combat muscle loss… an unwelcome side effect with dieting.6

Lower calories allows your dog to eat more and still lose weight.

Weight loss is often easier to achieve by adding canned food to your dog’s feeding regimen.

Canned products usually have higher protein, lower carbohydrates and fewer calories compared to a similar sized quantity of kibble.

It’s also possible to achieve a good high protein weight loss diet by combining a high quality commercial dog food with low-calorie home-cooked foods. This should be accomplished with the help of your veterinarian or veterinary nutritionist.

Exercise. Exercise. Exercise.

Forty percent of American adults do not participate in any leisure time physical activity. So, no doubt our dogs are just as sedentary.

In humans, physical activity has been proven to

  • Aid in weight loss
  • Lessen heart disease
  • Lower cholesterol levels
  • Decrease the risk of diabetes
  • Control anxiety and depression
  • Reduce the risk of certain cancers
  • Slow bone loss associated with advancing age

We can probably expect many of these same benefits for our pets.

So, get your dog moving. Take a walk. Run. Play fetch. Swim. Climb the stairs. Provide at least 30 minutes of brisk exercise every day to facilitate weight loss.

How to Monitor Your Dog’s Weight Loss

Monitor your dog’s progress. Weigh your dog at least every 1 to 2 weeks. Using the recommended guidelines, overweight or obese dogs should lose about 1% to 2% of their body weight each week.

If your dog is not losing weight, the daily calories may need to be restricted further.

Also make sure no one in the house is cheating by giving extra food or treats.

Once You Reach Your Goal

Once the ideal weight is reached, the amount of food your dog is eating will likely need to be increased.

It’s important to continue weighing and monitoring your dog for any future change in weight.

So, keep a log. And make any necessary adjustments throughout your dog’s life to maintain an ideal weight.

My Recommended Dog Foods
for Weight Loss

To see a list of my current recommendations, be sure to visit the Advisor’s article, “Dog Foods for Weight Loss“.

Donna Spector, DVM, DACVIM is a renowned, board-certified Veterinary Internal Medicine Specialist.

Dr. Donna Spector

Dr. Spector has written and lectured extensively on topics including animal nutrition, diabetes, gastrointestinal disorders, and kidney failure. She is widely acknowledged for her role as consulting veterinarian to Halo, Purely for Pets and her TV appearances with The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

Dr. Spector’s online consulting service offers personalized and tailored medical, nutritional and weight loss consultations for owners of both dogs and cats.

She provides professional advice relating to urinary disorders, liver problems, immune diseases, intestinal issues, diabetes, asthma and other breathing conditions, hormonal problems and other internal medical complaints.


  1. Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, Calabash, NC
  2. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, Vol. 220 No. 9, May 1, 2002, pp. 1315-1320
  3. Average protein: 29% (dry) and 40% (canned)
  4. Average fat: 16% (kibble) and 23% (canned)
  5. 250-350 calories per 8-ounce cup kibble or per 13-ounce can
  6. Diez, M et al (2002), “Weight Loss in Obese Dogs: Evaluation of a High-Protein, Low-Carbohydrate Diet”, American Society for Nutritional Sciences, Journal of Nutrition, 132: 1685S–1687S, 2002
  • dchassett

    I just went on the Acana site to check out the duck and pear (Singles?). It seems to me that the protein is much to low. The site has this formula and all the Singles formulas at 27%. That could be a factor on why your dog is always hungry. I would switch to a food with a much higher protein, moderate fat and low carbs. I think that would greatly help your dog. Acana is a great food but not all dogs do well on all foods. Sometimes it’s a matter of trial and error until you find the right one for your dog.

  • sharron

    hi – she is on the duck and pear which has 430 cals/cup – so i have been feeding her 3/8 cups/day (1/8 cup 3x/day) so i don’t over feed but it doesn’t seem to be quite enough

  • dchassett

    Hi Sharron. You didn’t mention which Acana you’re feeding. I’m sorry if you did and I missed it. Are you feeding grain free or grain inclusive. Sometimes foods with grains and too many carbs will make a dog feel hungrier than when they are on a higher protein, lower carb, grain free diet. Anyway, that’s what happened in my household with my three girls. I just checked out the Acana’s that Dr. Mike has reviewed and they all seem rather high in carbs. I would probably switch her food completely.

  • LabsRawesome

    Yes I would try adding canned to her kibble, or maybe just feed her all canned. Either way, just figure out the calorie count.

  • sharron

    hi – i walk her (weather permitting) 4 x/day
    20 mins each walk. have done the reduced calorie and either she won’t eat it or it doesn’t fill her up. the last food she was on was from the vet and she did eat it but she always hungry and i had to feed her way more than i should have. i have canned food (blue buffalo called divine delights which have 85 calories in a tray) can i just feed her that or should i mix the acana with it too) thanks

  • LabsRawesome

    Hi sharron, have you tried canned? Or reduced calorie kibble? That way you can feed more volume without adding more calories. Or you could keep her on Acana and just exercise her more.

  • sharron

    don’t know where my posting went – will do this again
    lexee’s vet wants her to eat 180 cals/day because she thinks that lexee is about a lb overweight. i’ve been feeding lexee 3/8 cup/day of acana and this amt doesn’t seem to be enough. i feed her 1/8 cup in the am and she is hungry again around noon or 1:00, feed her 1/8 cup at dinner (5:00) and she hangs around the table when we are eating and hangs around the dishwasher when i’m loading the dinner dishes.
    i want to increase the amt she is getting (just a little bit) she weighs 10 lbs and her vet would like her at 9lbs (she has been 10 lbs. for the past 4 yrs) 180 cals/day doesn’t seem alot to me. any thoughts? – thanks
    i forgot to mention that she gets 1/8 cup at night – have tried adding pumpkin (doesn’t like it), green beans (didn’t make ant difference)

  • Leona james

    Continue the good work; keep posting more n more n more.
    best way to lose weight

  • Sammy Hopwood

    how much shud i feed my 15 year old jack plz

  • dchassett

    I agree with C4D. It’s meant to be a guide but I have always found it to be way way off. I use the guidelines for the different foods that I rotate (on their web sites). I then also go by how my dogs feel. I don’t use a scale, I use my hands and I am constantly feeling their bodies, ribs, thighs, etc. for too much weight, too little weight and how their muscles are doing. I am constantly adjusting the amount I feed them even sometimes tweaking meal to meal (I feed twice a day). Even the food websites are a guide line not written in stone. Every dog is different and their metabolisms are different. Just as not every food is for every dog, not every amount is right for every dog.

  • Crazy4dogs

    AW you also have to take the dog food calculators as a guide or starting point. Even when I use the calculators on DFA, if I fed my Labs as much as recommended, they would be overweight. Time of year is another factor. This winter has been absolutely brutal for my dogs as the only real exercise they are getting is playing fetch indoors and running in the yard for as long as the cold weather allows, which is much less than their normal activity.
    Also, even the raw foods have different calorie/fat levels. They can vary by brand by as much as double the calorie count per ounce. Also, some proteins have a higher fat level than others, which can affect the calorie count.
    Primal has a calculator for their food based on how you want to feed (maintain, lose etc.) and which formula you are feeding. It might be helpful to look at that calculator to give you an idea. But I have found with my dogs, I have to feed less of any food raw/canned/dehydrated/kibble than the recommendations.

  • theBCnut

    For some dogs you do, because they have a lot more energy when fed raw. But I think the issue is where the calorie calculator came from. There are a few different ones out there and they all give different results. None of them can take into account every factor that affects how much a dog should eat, like metabolism, digestion efficiency, and actual amount of exercise. All calorie calculators are just meant to be a starting place, not the actual amount you should feed. If I were you, I would start by trying to feed the same number of calories that you already feed. Re-evaluate your dogs condition weekly to adjust the amount you feed.

  • AW

    when looking at the calorie content and how much to feed my dog on a raw diet, the calories are higher than what is on the calorie calculator for dogs on the dog food advisor website. Do you feed more calories on a raw diet than on a dry food diet?

  • sharron

    i’m feeding lexee 3/8 cups/day of orijen. – 1/8 cup 3 x/day. will she adjust to the lesser amt being fed – thanks

  • sharron

    hi betsy

    i remember lexee eating a high fiber food once and it made her constipated.
    is a 2% difference in fat that great – she’s able to go from breakfast to dinner, that’s 1/8 cup in the am – i’m being very strict with the food intake.

  • Betsy Greer

    Hi Sharron,

    I used Orijen Senior for weight loss once previously and had good luck with it. It does have lower fat and plenty of high quality protein at 38%. It does have quite a bit (about 3%) more fiber, so just be aware of that. One of my dogs had no problem with the higher fiber, the other did. The higher fiber should also help Lexee feel fuller longer. It could be a winner. I’d say, go for it!

  • sharron

    Hi again

    was at a pet store last night – no, not for food, and the owner asked how lexee was doing and what food she is on, so i told her orijen – she thinks that lexee should be eating the orijen senior since it is lower in fat 15% compared to the other formulas which have 17%. – my question is: is there that much difference between the two 15 and 17% – i know it’s 2% – but in regards to the effect on the dog, – the senior formula is the only one champion makes that is 15% and lexee does like variety.

  • InkedMarie

    Yep! Lots of great wrestlers came out of Stu Hart’s dungeon!

  • sharron

    yes, the hart family

  • Betsy Greer

    That’s great Sharron!

    I agree, I would definitely soak the kibble in water for her. It’ll help her get the moisture she needs and Orijen’s kibble is large, and the moisture will help it to start breaking down. I also can’t help but think it adds volume that translates to a fuller belly for a bit.

    Orijen is great! Glad Lexee is enjoying it!

  • InkedMarie

    I’m a hugemwrestling fan; you had great wrestling there and quite a famous wrestling family!

  • sharron

    hi betsy

    i have lexee on orijen – started this morning and so far so good – not begging, no in between meal snacks (not a snack, more like another meal).
    been thinking that perhaps i should soak the food in water so that she will get enough moisture since the protein level is 38%. she’s not a heavy drinker.
    thanks again

  • sharron

    Hi Diana
    thankyou for your input – i’m in canada, calgary alberta. – can’t get alot of the foods that are listed here – most but not all – i bought the trial size bags of orijen and acana today – the locally owned pet shop owner feels that she needs to be on a higher protein, low carb food which will help her get from one meal to the next without having to snack in between. she has gained more due to the fact that i had to feed way more to keep her satisfied will go back to feeding a 1/4 cup/day and i’m also able to get her out for longer walks as long as the weather stays decent.

  • Diana Tammen

    I don’t know if you can get these in the US, but here in the UK, I would recommend James Wellbeloved – organic, no GM and some of their kibble is grain free – and Moorlands – free range animals and single source of protein. Sometimes just keeping it simple helps. For the “snack” time, any type of crunchy vegetable will fill the void without adding too many calories – carrots, celery… find one she likes.

  • sharron

    have tried it 2 or 3 times in the past – she wouldn’t eat it – and have noticed within the last year that stores that sold it don’t stock it anymore

  • InkedMarie

    Is there a reason you can’t try Wellness Core reduced fat? It worked great for a dog we had.

  • Betsy Greer

    You’re a sweetie, Sharron! I’m always glad to see you here and am always happy to chat with you. : )

    Hope the weather breaks for all of us soon so we can actually find the sidewalks again! We had another blizzard where I am again today, but fortunately it was a holiday for me. No place better than the living room to watch the snow fall!

    I’m keeping my fingers crossed and will look forward to hearing of your success soon!

  • sharron

    thanks betsy
    from what you said i think i will go back to acana light and fit – been able to get her out for longer walks – so i’m sure with that and the food i should see better results – thanks again for all your help you’re the best

  • Betsy Greer

    Hi Sharron,

    First of all, I would hope you never think you’re pestering anyone here! You certainly aren’t pestering me. I can hear your frustration and know how much you want to do what’s best for Lexee.

    Of the foods you mentioned, I don’t “love” any of them, but would probably go with the Nutro option if I were in your shoes. If it weren’t Blue Buffalo, I’d prefer the nutrient analysis and ingredients better of that option; but, the last thing I’d want is for Lexee to get sick on top of all you’re dealing with already.

  • sharron

    hi betsy

    i have 3 bags of food – not buying anymore
    which one would you suggest:
    nutro natural choice – turkey/potato small breed
    bb wilderness – duck
    royal canin vet prescribed weight loss
    thanks again – and i won’t pester anymore

  • Pattyvaughn

    NutriSource is a good middle of the road food. A lot of people like Pro Pac and Eagle too.

  • Betsy Greer

    My favorite way to add “wet” food and additional moisture is with freeze dried and dehydrated foods like The Honest Kitchen and Dr. Harvey’s Oracle. A spoonful and enough hot water to saturate it all and you’ve just added fresh whole foods and moisture! I keep mine in a pretty, airtight, glass jar on the counter and you don’t have to worry about using up a can of food within three days of opening either.

  • sharron

    oh betsy i’ve had her on so many over the years
    these are the ones she will not eat – wellness core, amicus,
    now, go, taste of the wild, pulsar, fromm, holistic blend, halo, and i’m sure there are others – the ones she really really likes are acana and orijen – doesn’t care for the acana light and fit though – i think i will keep her on a mid-tier food and add just a tad of wet to it – do you know of a decent middle of the road food? – thanks

  • Betsy Greer

    Hi Sharron,

    I totally agree with Patty on this! I’d personally steer clear of Blue Buffalo.

    It does sound though like your strategy for feeding smaller, more frequent meals might be a good idea!

    Now, I realize you didn’t ask this, but I keep thinking about products you might like for Lexee…

    I can’t recall if you’ve ever tried any Horizon products ~ it seems like we might have talked about Amicus before. Amicus is tiny kibble meant for small breed. I think Horizon products are excellent quality and believe you could find it where you live. My Cavalier has no trouble snarfing down Horizon Legacy and she’s only a little bigger than Lexee.

    Another product I used recently that’s manufactured in Canada is Wholesome Blend, but as I write this, I just recalled the kibble is large ~ but, they do have a small breed formula that is fish based and I “believe” it’s baked and not extruded.

    And, I suspect you can find Wellness too, have you ever tried any of their products? My small breed has eaten the Core Small Breed and Ocean formulas with great results. Wellness actually has quite a few excellent choices for small and toy breeds ~ I really like their products.

  • sharron

    so in your opinion i should be feeding something else

  • Pattyvaughn

    Not Betsy, but if you read the comments on the Blue threads, you will notice that there has been a large number of people reporting that their dogs got sick on Blue, even dogs that have been on it for a while. Every time someone contacts them to complain, they say they haven’t gotten any complaints.

  • sharron

    hi betsy – was at the pet store this am and they gave me a sample of blue wilderness duck formula – the owner of the store said that it’s a high quality food – 36% protein, 15% fat
    401 cals/cup – will feed her 1/2cup/day – will spread it out over 4 feedings – 1/8 cup each – your thoughts on this food – lexee hasn’t had it before – thanks

  • dchassett

    Hi Sharon. I have three toy breeds and have learned to know their weight or at least if they need to lose a little or gain a little by feel. You just feel their bodies. I’m always adjusting their meals a little up or down if I feel they need to either lose or gain. Always tweaking their meals and snacks. (I feed twice a day) and give fresh veggies and fruits mostly berries, apple, bananas during snack times. Scales don’t necessarily tell the whole story. Even toy breeds have different body types. Some are a bit more medium boned while others are more petite. Just like people. All dogs even in the same breed and littler can’t all fit into a specific weight. It’s just a guide and then you adjust by feel. Anyway, sorry for the long post, it’s just how I do it. Before I learned to trust my own instincts (first dog) the vets always had him either too fat or too skinny. A friend taught me the true way to know how your dog should feel.

  • dchassett

    Hi Betsy,
    That’s exactly what I was going to say. If she can feel her ribs without them feeling any indentation in between but with some muscle/fat then her dog sounds good to me. I’ve had similar situations as yours with Sam. The clinic that I use has 3 or 4 vets and I’ve at different times have been told one is just perfect, then Oh, needs to lose a little. I don’t really go by weight. I go by feel. I know when they’ve gained or lost and am always adjusting accordingly. A dog that size to have to lose a pound seems like a lot to me.

  • Betsy Greer

    Four 20 minute walks per day is great! A few minutes here and there chasing a ball or shaking the heck out of one of those “stuffingless” toys…, it all adds up! : )

    OK, so just to make sure I understand, you feel like 10 pounds is a good weight for her?

    If you’re still on the fence, here are a couple of articles I thought seemed useful in determining if a dog was at a healthy weight:; and Don’t be offended by the article! I just thought the diagrams they used were easy to understand. : )

    If you think she’s at a good weight, just find a few quality foods you both like and rotate each bag; and try using frozen green beans or raw carrots for snacks. She won’t extract a lot from them so you might see them in her stool, but they’ll help her feel fuller. You might also try soaking her food in water before offering it to her to make sure she stays hydrated and so that she feels fuller as soon as she eats.

  • sharron

    good morning betsy

    i think this is the weight she should be too – she’s been around 10 lbs to 10.5 lbs for the past 4 yrs. – i find that cuttting back on her daily intake to make sure she gets the 180 cal/day, makes her hungry all the time. She’s not an active dog – i try and put in an hour of walking – thats about 4-20 mins walks/day – it’s been less than that due to the weather.

  • Betsy Greer

    Morning Sharron,

    Something your post just made me think of… I visited my vet with my Golden, Sam, and she thought he was much too heavy. Then, a short time later Sam visited his other vet for a chiropractic adjustment and that vet said he thought Sam looked perfect.

    You mention you can feel her ribs, maybe Lexee is actually at a good weight for her.

  • sharron

    hi – she is a 5 yr old yorkie/chihuahua.
    weighs 10 lbs but the vet would like to see her at 9 lbs. she isn’t fat – i can feel her ribs and i weigh her at the vet
    clinic.she’s is eating nutro natural choice turkey and potato small bbreed

  • Pattyvaughn

    She probably doesn’t like that empty stomach feeling any more than I do. I don’t need to snack between meals. I certainly eat more calories than I need. I sure do want to snack though, especially when my stomach is empty.

  • dchassett

    Hi Sharon. I may have missed it but what breed is Lexee and how much does she weigh? Are you feeding her grain free? Oh, how much do you think she should weigh? Are you checking her weigh on a scale or checking to see how much of her ribs you can feel? Also how old is she?

  • Betsy Greer

    You might try offering her daily ration divided into three meals or possibly offering her some frozen green beans. Green beans would be low cal and fill up her belly.

  • sharron

    another question – why isn’t lexee able to go from breakfast to dinner.Is there something missing in the food.
    I feed her 1/4 cup in the am, then she’s looking for more around 1:00

  • InkedMarie

    Naw, not you Betsy! Lol

  • Pattyvaughn

    I have one that only wants the best, really picky, another that has food intolerance issues, and another that does better with more fiber. It’s never easy feeding all of them. I search for foods for the one with intolerances and fortunately they are good enough for the picky one, then I add fiber for the other dog. That sounds simple compared to reality, because I also feed half raw which has its own issues. Not every dog has to have high protein foods, etc. Until I got the one with food intolerances, Mine were doing great on NutriSource.

  • sharron

    Hi Patty – sometimes i feel guilty that i’m not feeding her a higher quality brand of food. – I’ll buy a bag of food bring it home and then read horror stories about what the food has done to dogs. I have bought really high quality food in the past and found that Lexee either didn’t like it, make her sick, made her gain weight,
    made her constipated, and i’m sure there are other issues that i can’t think of right at the moment. I’m trying to find a dry food that she will eat readily straight from the bag and i don’t have to add stuff to it just so she will eat it. She seems to like the mid-tier foods. Not all of them but some.

  • Pattyvaughn

    I agree with Betsy. Do what works best for your dog. I keep looking for better for my dog or even for more options, but first and foremost is finding something that works. Being informed, so that you can make the best choices about dog food is very important. That way, if you have to choose something that is lower quality than what you would have wanted, you can look at the little things you can do to improve it, like adding the right kinds of oils, or more proteins, or supergreens, or antioxidants. Don’t ever feel bad about doing the best you can. That just doesn’t make sense.

  • Betsy Greer

    I’ll readily admit that, I too, “may” be guilty of overthinking dog food myself. ; )

    It really is about what works best for Lexee. I really hope the Nutro works!

  • sharron

    i’m over thinking this and turning it into an unnecessary dilemma. i have to go with what works best for her even though it might be a food that isn’t on the 4 or 5 star list. thanks again for your input i really appreciate all your help

  • Betsy Greer

    You know what Sharron, there are lots of foods I’d like to feed my crew. However, one has a fish intolerance (no fish or fish oils, both are problematic) so I’ve ended up resorting to Plan B and foods that I ordinarily wouldn’t have fed are what’s ended up working best. If it works well for Lexee, that’s what matters most.

    What about a home prepared diet?

  • sharron

    hi betsy

    i have tried nv medallions in the past – but i have read on this website that it is high in fat.
    i bought a bag of natural choice yesterday, the turkey and potato small breed formula – she likes it so far – but again i read unfavourable comments about this food and think that i should find something else

  • Betsy Greer

    Hi Sharron,

    Sorry the Acana didn’t work out for Lexee.

    180 calories isn’t much and leaves virtually no room for error, does it.

    I can’t recall if you’ve ever tried raw. I think that’s the next option I’d try if I were you. You could make your own and even choose to lightly cook it if that made you more comfortable. Or, you could choose a complete and balanced commercial raw product; although I’m not sure what commercial raw product are available in Canada. Nature’s Variety Instinct, Bravo and Primal would be three you might look for.

    I use and would recommend Darwin’s, but it’s only available in the U.S.

  • sharron

    can anyone suggest a dry food that isn’t a weight loss food but is lower in calories – have tried acana and orijen but she gained weight even with cutting back on the amt per serving and with regular exercise – she doesn’t like lamb or raw – her vet says that she should get around 180 cals/day – thanks

  • Pattyvaughn

    I don’t know for sure if it is true, but it sounds right to me. I was always told that if you lose weight too fast that you are losing muscle. Since muscle mass is part of what drives metabolism, losing muscle is the opposite of what you want, and will cause weight gain when the diet stops. Muscle burns more calories than fat, so a dog that has lost muscle will need even fewer calories than they used before. The way to help counter this issue is to increase exercise, so that the body believes it needs to keep those muscles.

  • Dave

    Our Vet has put our Dog on the Hills Science Diet food. We were originally told he should lose 400gm/week. On the amount of food given, he is always hungry, and is losing around 1kg/week. We feel this is excessive, but we are told it’s fine. Any thoughts?


  • Ja Ber
  • InkedMarie

    She can only eat what is given to her. Have the humans stop feeding her, up the exercise & she will lose weight.

    It’s not always possible to feed the same food. Three dogs here & three different foods.

  • Dr J

    Merrick costs about that much if I am not mistaken.

  • LabsRawesome

    Hi shep, you are very welcome. Please let us know how everything goes. 🙂

  • Crazy4cats

    That is awesome. I use Victor G/F and Kirkland Cuts in Gravy as well. Hope it works out.

  • shep

    I found a local dealer and checked out their dogfoodadvisor page, and if I can get it for a similar price you pay, you may have just saved my life! It’s also one of the few “senior/weight management” formulas that have 4 stars on here, so cudos to them.
    LabsRawesome: I thank you. 🙂

  • Lorri Prater

    Have a Corgie that will eat anything and is always hungry needless to say gaining a lot of weight HELP. I also have a picky eater that has liver disease is there anything that they both can eat

  • InkedMarie

    Glad the Zignature and Pure Vita worked for you but you didn’t try all the weight loss foods. Wellness Core reduced fat is a grain free food that worked great for an obese dog we adopted. I just wanted to mention that for others reading.

  • LabsRawesome

    Blue turns 1 tomorrow. You should be able to get 4 and five star kibble for less. Victor dog food (kibble)gets 4 and 5 star ratings. If you can get it locally it,s pretty cheap. I pay $38.99 for a 30lb bag. It might come in smaller bags IDK. Here,s Victor’s site, they have a dealer locator.

  • shep

    I haven’t tried canned food, right now it’s all I can do to buy 4 star kibble. I’ll have to look into the brands you mentioned – until now I’d pretty much assumed that they were all quite a bit more expensive than the dog food I’m feeding (54 dollars for a 26 lb bag). I may be able to do a mix.
    How old is your Doxie? (he’s adorable, btw) Levi is middle aged now, I feel his metabolism may just be beginning to slow.

  • LabsRawesome

    Have you tried canned food? That could work, to help him feel full. There are some 4 and 5 star canned foods, that won’t break the bank. Costco,s Kirkland cuts in gravy $18.99 for 24 cans. Tractor supply has 4health .99 cents per can. And Petco has Whole Earth Farms not sure on the price. Walmart has Pure Balance $1 can. Or you can do a canned kibble mix.

  • Crazy4cats

    But, bear in mind, he is talking about adding a little pumpkin and or veggies and fruit to his dog’s food, not a pizza! Lol!

  • Bubba’s Mom

    Just a note on weight loss. Hunny had been on all the so called weight loss foods for some time with no success.. AND have you ever read the ingredients…Finally went another route…GRAIN FREE..The best weight loss I’ve ever seen was with ZIGNATURE for about 9 months and then changed to PUREVITA for the last 3..She is a Lab and has lost about 20 pounds this past year, looks wonderful…but her DR wants her down to 80-85..May let her go to 85, but 80 in my opinion would be too extreme..she is very big girl.Her snacks are dehydrated YAMS..not Sweet Potatoes..Yams have a much better glycemic index rating…37 compared to the 61 of the Sweet..She has been snacking on these for over 6 months..

  • Fggvccv

    Shaawwna I am on my kees some peeas pleaase

  • Gfddff

    Paattyy with her ham is a scam

  • LabsRawesome

    Hi Shep, 1 cup sounds right to me. That is the same amount my Dachshund eats. He is 16lbs. He also gets a tablespoon of canned food with both meals.

  • Ghfftt

    Paatty is a stalker you need to block her

  • Ghfftt

    Shhawwna is rude with her old dude

  • Ghfftt

    With hoonddogss deadly diet she got all quiet

  • Ghfftt

    Paattyy please flag me dont you wonna have me

  • Crazy4cats


  • Shaawna wana

    Honddoogg is no fun with her sharp young tonge

  • Crazy4cats

    Mine eat those nasty things too. They get 3 1/2 cups plus canned and still think thy are starving. I know exactly where you are coming from. Good luck. I do think the pumpkin is very good for them. Just not too much. It’s good for humans too, BTW.

  • shep

    I don’t have any problem not giving into his cravings. He LOVES food and has been getting less and less as he’s gotten older. However, when he started eating dog poop at 7 years old, I knew something needed to change. The vet has said there is no underlying cause. He needs to eat fewer calories (and run, but it’s in the negatives here!) but if we don’t let him eat dog poop, he eats plastic and vomits it all back up because it upsets his stomach. If I don’t do SOMETHING he’s going to continue eating inedible things. My choices – add fiber to make him feel full, or change his food to something he can eat more of for fewer calories. I, personally, do not wish to feed a low quality diet food with a ton of fillers and carbs. And I am tired of watching him like a hawk to keep him from eating crap (literally and figuratively) and cleaning up vomit when I miss something.

  • shep

    Thanks, I’ll try the frozen veggies. All of our dogs love to eat ice cubes, veggies should be a treat!
    If the darn dog hadn’t started eating indedibles (read: dog poop and and trash that blows into our yard) I would just keep his food decreased and wait for the weight to come off. But he’s older now and apparently letting me know that 1 cup a day of food is NOT going to cut it.
    Right now I’m just trying to keep him from gaining until the weather heats up and we can go running again.

  • Shawwnna

    Hounddoggmmom is really young with a sharp tongue

  • Dr J

    that is the problem we have personified the dog and feel as if we are mean if we do not give in into his/her cravings. I have two old malamute mixes and they they were not happy when we reduced their food as they got older, but one has to do what one has to do. Same for me, I’d rather be able to eat like when I was 20, but at 50 that is simply not possible.

  • Crazy4cats

    Seems like a good kibble. I know it sounds so simple to feed less, but it makes us feel like we are depriving our dog. I get it! According to HDM, you don’t have to worry about toxicity with the pumpkin.. I’d still be concerned about diarrhea, however. I’ve heard of people using green beans as well. Also, I have bought NW Naturals veggie/fruit frozen nuggets that are low in calories that might help make him feel fuller. Just remember not to give more than 20% of his calories of these unbalanced extras. Good luck, it’s important to keep them at healthy weights.

  • Dr J

    Slowly reduce the amount of food.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    No problem! 🙂

    Just keep in mind it’s extremely difficult to consume toxic levels of vitamins and minerals through food sources (possible, but very unlikely). Mother Nature has a lot of checks and balances in place to prevent things like this from happening. The majority of vitamin and mineral overdoses are seen with synthetic sourced nutrients (such as multivitamins).

  • shep

    Feeding Avoderm large breed (a suggested weight loss food from dogfood advisor).

  • shep

    Thank you for the informative reply, this is what I needed to know!

  • shep

    He’s hungry enough to start eating our other dog’s poop. He’s 7 years old and he’s never done that. Had him checked by the vet. He’s just old and hungry, but overweight. My vet wants to put him on a medical diet, but I don’t believe the ingredients are high enough quality. Hence the pumpkin.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Vitamin a can be toxic in very large doses as it’s a fat soluble vitamin. Vitamin a,or retinol, is only found in animal ingredients. For example, liver is a highly concentrated source. Plant ingredients like pumpkin do not contain vitamin a, per se. Vegetables contain what are called carotenes. Carotees are a pre-cursor to vitamin a. When consumed the body converts carotenes to retinol. The body only converts as much as it needs so there’s no risk of overdose like there is with retinol.

  • Crazy4cats

    1/4 cup sounds like too much to me for a small dog. I only give my 80 pounders 2 tbs. That much could give diarrhea. Which kibble are you feeding?

  • No sheep dont sleep

    Or how about some potatos, gluten or tomatos

  • No sheep dont sleep

    Dr.J tell Shaawwnnaa to give me some peas please!!!!

  • Dr J

    Why do you want to feed him pumpkin? I mean it works well if the dog suffers from the runs, but otherwise there is no reason for it. If you want to use it as a filler for him to diet, all I can say is don’t. Feed him less, just like humans. It is the amount of calories you consume that is the major contributor to weight. Your dog will get used to be fed less, period. He/she will not be happy, but that is life.

  • shep

    I want to replace a portion of my dog’s food with pumpkin, but a quick search on the internet has shown that pumpkin is stored as vitamin A which can be toxic in large amounts (it’s stored in the liver and not passed out through waste). My dog is only 22 lbs (3 lbs over weight) and eating anything he can get his paws on, which is starting to include non edible things. I want to start feeding him 1/4 of a cup of pumpkin every day, but nowhere says how much is too much. A lot of places just suggest 1-2 tablespoons, but I don’t see how this will make him feel fuller.

  • shep

    Depending on what our vet says tomorrow (I suspect my dog may have cushing’s, but I may just be a paranoid dogmom) I will need to switch up my dog’s food. I’m thinking about doing Natural Balance Fat Dog with Merrick canned food. Can anyone tell me about the Fat dog formula? It has the fewest calories I’ve found for any dog food rated above a 2 star. I’m already feeding one of the suggested weight loss foods from dogfoodadvisor, and have continuously cut back on my dog’s calories. Now, he’s started eating our other dog’s poop. (hence, the vet check) I want him to feel fuller during the day, but I’m not sure what else I can do. (He does go running with me any time I go, but this winter has been particularly miserable)

  • Clondon04

    Hi!!! You can feed him some quinoa! Join my pug group we have several UK members and it’s free!

    If possible switch to raw both my pugs lost 3 lbs when I switched

  • I don’t know about UK foods but there are several UK members at that can recommend something for you.

  • Jax Rice

    I have 3 year old pug who has been plagued with illness over the last year. Firstly had an operation to enlarge his nostrils and remove part of soft palate in March 2013 then had an emergency surgery to be castrated and surrounding areas removed in early January. We had just got him fit and healthy during the summer and early autumn before he got a chest infection and knocked his routine out of kilter.

    He has put on about 3 kilos since and the op in January.

    Vet and weight clinic have now cut his Royal Cabin neutered small dog kibble down to 100gsm a day plus short walks of 10mins 5 times a day. We can give him veg but was asking what is filling and nutritious for him. His feed is 70am and 30pm.

    He is on no medications

    I am in the UK.

  • Betsy Greer

    That’s great Sharron! I’m so happy that she liked it and that it helped her feel fuller longer. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that Lexee has wonderful results. Keep us posted!

  • sharron

    Hi Betsy:
    want to thank you for your help. I bought a bag of the acana light and fit
    and fed lexee around 4 this pm.
    didn’t have her hanging around the table at dinner which has been in the past an everyday occurrence.
    thanks again

  • Betsy Greer

    OK, it’s always good to add some canned. Just make sure you’re reducing the dry portion to compensate for the extra calories you’re adding with the canned toppers.

    I love to use The Honest Kitchen as a fresh topper. If you haven’t used it before, THK is a dehydrated food that you reconstitute with warm water. A tiny spoonful on top of her kibble and then soak it all in warm water, stir it and let it sit for a few minutes. Lexee would probably love it too!

  • sharron

    with the dry food i have to dress it up in order for her to eat it such as; adding just a wee bit of can and wet it and pop in the microwave for a few secs. i prefer to feed her just dry if only i can find a dry that she likes and won’t cause weight gain – i’ve never fed more than 1/2 cup/day and that’s for any food she’s been on

  • Betsy Greer

    Ah ha, I see. I’d give the Light & Fit a try then.

    Do you wet her kibble? If not, you might also try soaking her kibble in water and letting it sit for a bit before feeding her ~ the extra moisture can only help.

  • sharron

    lexee’s fine – no medications – the vet suggested i have her liver checked at her next check-up which is due in may.
    the food wasn’t recommended by the vet. – the nutritionist that works at the clinic suggested it but instead of losing she’s gaining on it.

  • Betsy Greer

    It sounds like she must’ve visited the vet recently for a check-up since she’s been eating an Rx diet. Everything else checks out OK, right? I looked back and saw that her liver levels were a little high once after she had a procedure. But, everything is good now and she doesn’t take any medication for any reason, right?

    Don’t worry about switching foods frequently. I do it all the time! ; )

  • sharron

    hi betsy – yes it’s me again
    i haven’t been changing foods like i use to – lexee has been on the same food for quite awhile now – but it doesn’t seem to be working in regards to losing weight and she really doesn’t like it – have been forcing her to eat it. yes, i am in canada.

  • InkedMarie

    I hadn’t thought of that one. Good luck!

  • Betsy Greer

    Hi Sharron,

    Acana Light & Fit does look very good. If my memory serves, you’re in Canada, right? I ask only because I know that Light & Fit is not sold in the US, but is available in Canada.

    Let us know how it works for Lexi!

  • sharron

    thankyou for your help
    i’m thinking of acana light & fit

  • InkedMarie

    Hi Sharron,
    I’d switch foods, gradually over a week. The Wellness Core worked great for my dog & is probably more readily available to you.

  • sharron

    hi -royal canin satiety weight management

  • InkedMarie

    Which food in particular? We can’t give you an opinion until we know which one. I would never feed a vet weight loss food; the ingredients aren’t good enough for my dogs.

    I adoped a very obese dog, she lost the weight needed on Wellness Core Reduced Fat. I’ve also heard good things about Annamaet Lean

  • sharron

    would anyone know why my dog has gained a bit of weight eating a vet prescribed weight loss food

  • hiver

    I have three dogs, a 13 yr old 20lb Terrier, a 13 yr old 40lb B/Collie x GSD, both very active and in good shape. They each have approx 12 oz of raw food a day. My problem is with my 6+-yr old 72lb Karakachan (Bulgarian Shepherd) very small for her breed so may be a cross. But she is FAT and despite being fed less than the two above has put on at least 12 lbs. By nature she is very placid, like her breed living amongst the flocks they guard, she patiently watches over all the dogs and children she knows in the park, never running unless there is cause – so usually never. We visit our park morning and afternoon and I take her for a long (1 hour +) power walk at night.
    They are all raw fed once a day, the terrier chicken and heart, the CollieX green tripe chicken and rice (low potassium) and Wilma has a mixture mainly ox heart and tripe. If I cut her meals to twice a day, each would be gone in one gulp. They are all on DE and Brewers Yeast so no paracites within or without. I wish she would play and use some of her energy (and calories) but I guess it is not her way.
    I really would appreciate any suggestions to get this lovely lady back into shape.

  • Pattyvaughn

    How old is Bubba? What are you currently feeding?

  • Dancergirl123

    What things should I do to help my dog lose weight.
    I have two dachshunds, a father and a son. Skooter, the father is overweight! I dont know what to do because Bubba, the son, is a runt he needs the food he is underweight. I can’t feed then separately. Because I am in school and don’t have time. I get home at 2 but that is too long to leave them without food. Is there any diet plans Ivan use to get. Skooter to regular weight. He has trouble breathing and it scares me! I don’t feed him people food and no treats. Help??

    Thank you!

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  • karlie

    it may be she is malnourished, try a vitamin suppliment, mine had lose stool until my husband and I started to transition to a raw diet, now I like to know what my pup has had so I can make sure he gets proper nutrition, we try to get everything in by the end of the week, since a dogs body isn’t designed to have 100% nutrition daily, plus you really dont know what your pup is getting with kibble

  • karlie

    I dont know what your dogs build is, but an ideal build for any dog is one where you can see a hint of rib, but not too much, a great way to figure out how much to feed is by taking your dogs weight (or desired weight)X16=your dogs weight on oz, x .02 or .03
    Example: I want my lab/pit (current weight is 80) to weigh 70 so
    70×16=1120x.02=22.4/16 (to go back to lbs)
    mine should be eating roughly 1.4 lbs daily, or recalculate when he looks ideal, you dont want your pup to be underweight, but overweight dogs get more health problems, its harder on their joints, and typically have a shorter life span
    (info from, theyre AWESOME, I use them a lot and highly reccomend them as a reliable source)

  • InkedMarie

    I’m glad you realize how important it is for him to lose the weight. I used Wellness Core reduced fat with success and I’ve heard good things about Annamaet lean.

  • Miranda Shenoskey

    Our adult mini Dachsund is sneaking food from our puppy…as a family, I know we need to feed them at separate times and separate areas so our adult dog, Victor, won’t be able to eat our puppy’s food…And when my youngest son broke his leg(9/2/2013) Victor has stuck to him like glue, he goes outside to eliminate and that is all, he doesn’t even run and play outside anymore, and its only getting colder(we live in Central MI) it’s harder for him to stay outside longer than he used to…we especially don’t allow treats to Victor because of him being overweight and we DO NOT ALLOW TABLE SCRAPES OF ANY KIND…I hope Victor loses the weight…he’s far too heavy for his breed…he should weigh about 10-12 lbs he’s at 19.7 lbs right now! I’m ashamed that I let him get that heavy…I’m determined for him to get healthier!

  • Bernard A. Baker

    if you love your dog, it does not necessary essential to purchase expensive ones. Try to select the one that is full of nutrients that your pal will need to stay healthy and happy. Great tips!

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  • Betsy Greer

    HI Lavanya,

    Has your pup visited the vet? You say she can’t walk properly ~ is that due to obesity, or does she have some other mobility issues such as pano or displasia? I would have her checked about before starting on weight loss and I would look at alternate forms of exercise; ie: swimming. I’d be careful walking her and would only walk her on the grass, as opposed to the pavement.

    I keep my Golden’s weight under control with lower glycemic index foods. He does great on raw, Horizon Legacy Adult, EVO Herring & Salmon and Canine Caviar Lamb & Pearl Millet. Here are some additional suggestions from

    Some foods that I think are good “weight loss” foods are EVO weight management and Wellness Core Reduced Fat. Yes, EVO was just part of the Natura recall, so use your best judgment, but it’s still a quality formula.

  • Storm’s Mom

    What are you currently feeding her? (and how long have you been feeding her it?) What about just feeding her less of what you’re currently feeding her? I don’t have experience with specific weight loss foods, but I’ve heard Wellness CORE Reduced Fat is one of the best “weight loss” foods out there.

  • Lavanya

    Hi, My golden retriever is one year old and is over weight. she is not able to walk properly. Please suggest weight loss diet

  • aimee

    Hi Christine,

    I’d suggest that you write out a complete diet history writing down anything that has calories that crosses his lips. Take that information and schedule a visit with your vet to rule out any medical problems and get some help.

  • Christine

    my dog is 25 pounds..hes supposed to be 16 and hes a Pekingese. iv tried everything less food and walks yet hes ganing weight. hes 5 and im scared.

  • Julie Remmo-Walker

    Thank you, I’ll look for it.

  • Pet Parent

    Nature’s Domain SALMON which is available at Costco – ingredients listed here - – does NOT have any (listed) chicken ingredients. Blue Buffalo, Wellness, Instinct and Merrick are brands I’ve also tried but most likely with chicken. My Dalmatian ate the Salmon for about a year, passing away this spring at age 14, and my 10 year old Tibetan still eats it. Hope this helps!

  • Julie Remmo-Walker

    We have 3 dogs in the house. Our bebull is 20 lbs over weight after being treated with steroids for months for an allergic reaction that is infected and hes yet to clear.(we go to a dermatologist vet in Indianapolis next week) our boxer is a healthy weight but very allergic to chicken. So I’m looking for a high protien, low fat food with no chicken by products…HELP PLEASE

  • MikeM

    Thank you for that but it wasn’t only me that help to get the dogs to feel a part of our pack. Scooter helped Muffy to open up by running over to her when he wanted to go outside. It was like he was telling Muffy “come on lets go outside”, he was egging her on to go outside with him. Not too long after Scooter started doing this Muffy’s attitude started to change for the better.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Then bless you for taking them and for having the patience to take the time it takes for them to learn to trust you. 🙂

  • MikeM

    Yes, Muffy is the chubby one. FYI: Both Muffy and Scooter are rescue dogs. It took over a year for them to get over the trauma they must have been through before coming home with me.

  • Pattyvaughn

    So which one is Muffy? You really didn’t say, and I always assume wrong. Is Muffy “the chubby one?”

  • MikeM

    Thanks, I will give your suggestions a try along with more personalized exercise for the “chubby one”.

  • Pattyvaughn

    You are going to have to be hard hearted for a few days. Put one on a leash while you feed the other or stand between them and feed one on either side of you or put one in one room and one in the other and wait them out. Pick up any food the chubby one shouldn’t have, don’t leave food down. Give them 15 minutes to eat and if they don’t, pick food up until time for the next meal.

  • MikeM

    I have 2 Bichons both right at 6 years old. 1 Bichon
    (Scooter) is not overweight and is a smaller framed Bichon. My other Bichon (Muffy) is overweight by about 8 lbs and is a larger broader framed Bichon. The problem I am encountering is controlling the amount of food each dog eats, especially Muffy, when there is 2 dogs. I tried separating the dogs during feeding time and when I did this neither dog would eat at all. I need some ideas with controlling the food intake with 1 dog when there is another dog in the mix.

  • InkedMarie

    Panniculitis? Never heard of that. What is it?

  • Trish

    I need help with my miniature Aussie, she is on steroids off and on due to reoccurring panniculitis. I need to get her down at least eight pounds, can anyone help

  • Betsy Greer

    Treats are for us, love is for them.

    I grabbed a bag of treats the other night that both of mine are practically attacking me for right now. Grandma Lucy’s Freeze Dried Sweet Potatoes. Probably easy to make yourself if you have time.

    You might find some information on healthy treats in the forum area:

  • In addition to what Patty said, no, the rawhide would not be a good substitute for a bowl of food.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Wow!! Worst dog sitter ever story!! Don’t skip meals at this point. That can slow the metabolism and that is the last thing you want. Even short exercise periods are beneficial. The body burns more calories for a while after exercise so doing multiple short sessions can work for you. Also the act of eating and digesting increases calorie burn so feeding half as much twice a day is good. Muscle burns more calories than fat even while resting so again, increasing work helps.

  • Robyn

    Left for 12 days, had a dog sitter who over fed my 100% English Lab. Dog was 74 lbs before I left and is 90 lbs now. I have two questions:
    1) Can a dog be fed every other day to help lose weight?
    2) What ‘treats’ can be used that might work? (I saw the frozen carrots thing and might try that) Would those raw hide chew bones be a good substitute to a bowl of food?

    I was beyond upset seeing my pooch had exploded into a Hindenburg when I returned. She has much less energy, will only return a ball for about 10 minutes now until she plunks herself down. (used to go until my arm would almost fall off – and that’s with the ball wand!)

  • milo’s mama

    I do plan to follow some of the great information on how to get my dog to lose weight. I will reduce his intake, and walk him More consistently. I thought he looked great, my Vet felt differently, So I will go with her advice.

  • InkedMarie

    I take my pet ownership very seriously. I choose to have dogs and it’s up to me to provide. They can’t tell me if they’re sick, hurting etc.

    I hate seeing overweight dogs. I mean no offense to you but we adopted a sheltie that should have weighed 25lbs for her height. She weighed 43.7 pounds and had arthritis & bilateral hip dysplasia. I assume her former owner had no idea the harm he did to her. She was 11 by the time we got her and the damage had been done. Please get the weight off your dog. Especially with being a larger dog, his hips and knees will thank you.

  • Tammie Bolesworth

    Lol @ my husband too!

  • Pattyvaughn

    I’m every bit as careful in what I feed my family, and your right, nobody’s obese. I don’t believe in diet food for dogs either, I cut back on amounts and up their exercise. I do that to my husband too. My dogs eat a lot more in winter too and I live in the South where it doesn’t get that cold. I have a farm, so my dogs get a lot of free range eggs and there is a goat in my freezer that my dogs think is very tasty. My dogs are pampered as far as food goes. They work hard and I feed them not just to get calories into them, but to get the most out of them. And you are absolutely right, anything you grow yourself is healthier than a store bought treat.

  • Tammie Bolesworth

    Maybe she has a medical issue. Thyroid imbalance?

  • Tammie Bolesworth

    Sorry I just have to laugh, if everyone was so careful about what we fed our families, as you guys do your dogs, obesity would be a problem of the past! I was just told by my vet, my dog is overweight. She would like him at 85lbs. Right now he’s 94lbs. Ill cut back his food from 4 1/2 cups to 3. He is an outside dog, meaning he SLEEPS outside (not spends his whole day out there) During the winter I give him a littleore food to provided extra calories. Now that its warmer weather I just need to reduce his intake. I could find a low calorie/ diet dog food, but I don’t think I’ll need it. As for tables scraps… Yea I guess a lot of families don’t cook much nowadays. Although I do grow a lot of food and my dog snacks on almost everything I grow. Cheaper n healthier than store snacks. You people have some lucky pampered pets 😉

  • It might some time for weight loss on a small dog. One of the rescue vets suggested only 2-5% weight loss per month! I have small dogs and I usually feed foods like TOTW for weight loss and grain free high protein canned foods. All of them have been able to lose weight (I foster so have put many dogs on a diet). I would take body measurements of her – chest and waist. While the obese dogs lost weight and inches, the smaller dogs remained a good size but were heavier (I’m assuming from muscle mass). My small dogs look the same as one that would weight only 18 lbs but they are 23-24! Has her thyroid been checked?

  • Pattyvaughn

    When you increase exercise, the first thing that happens is an increase in muscle. Muscle weighs more than fat, so I can guarantee she has lost some of her body fat if her weight is the same. The good news is the muscle also burns more calories, even sitting still, so give it a couple more weeks and see if the weight doesn’t start to budge. Depending on what she should weigh, you may need to cut back her food a little more. You can feed more volume for the calories with a wet food, so that is an option, just make sure you know the proper amount to feed. There are other dry foods that are lower calorie, but often they are also lower quality, so I wouldn’t necessarily want to go that route. She will get used to the new portion size over time.

  • weezy

    My Chiweenie has weighed in at 20 lbs…we’ve been reducing her food intake to where she is getting 1/2cup of Taste of the Wild Bison and Vension every day (at the advice of the vet 1/4C morning, 1/4C evening) however she has not lost any weight and acts as though she is starving all the time. We no longer provide treats. We walk her, slowly ride bikes while she walks/trots along, run her in the backyard with our other dog but still she is overweight.
    1. should we try a different food?
    2. would incorporating wet food aid in weight loss?

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  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi Barbara –

    The most important aspect of weight loss is caloric intake – weight loss really has little to do with the level of fat or carbohydrates in the food (although I agree with you that a low carbohydrate food is preferable to a low fat/high carbohydrate food due to species-appropriateness). If a dog is expending more calories than it’s eating (regardless of whether these calories are coming from fat, protein or carbohydrates) the dog will lose weight and vice versa. If you switch to a homemade diet you just need to calculate the calorie content of his meals and make sure it’s not too high.

  • Barbara Dean

    You need to feed low carb not low fat. The problem with dog food is unless you use this site you dont know the carb count. I thought I was doing a good thing by feeding my slightly over weight gassy springer blue buffalo grain free until she quickly became obese. Looked on this site and found out that it is 50% carbohydrates. Get the starch and grain out of the dog food!! They do not need it anymore than humans do… I would feed homecooked but can not fine any true guidlines on how much she should be getting. Yes she does get excersised but since the blue buffalo feasco it is proving hard to drop her weight.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Can you easily feel his ribs when you run your hands down his sides or do you have to dig for them. How tall is he. Some shepherds really are that big and if he is big boned too, then he will weigh even more for his size. But you should never decide about a dogs weight based on a number on the scale, base your decision on body condition. Or ask your vet.

  • Linda MacKenzie

    I meant his paws are large. He has always been large since a puppy.

  • Linda MacKenzie

    My Shepherd is 125 pounds and looks it. He is on the raw diet, no commercial treats. Have cut him back 1/4 less of what he usually eats. He is walked twice a day, 1 hour each time. Cannot shake the weight. Is it possible he is just build to be large. His legs and pays are large and always have been. Any suggestions.

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  • Gizmo

    Five year old yorkie twelve lbs has tracael stent and needs hip surgey but must loose weight first needs a good can dry food

  • Melanie

    A dog needs to walk about an hour a day or more depending on the dog. If you guys don’t have time for him don’t expect him to lose weight. It doesn’t matter what you have planned. You need to make time for him. He’s only suffering. When you have a dog they aren’t meant to stay home. They are companions, friends who also have needs. If you guys really want him to lose weight devote yourself on helping him. Believe me he’ll be a happier dog.

  • sharron

    i know there is an simple answer to this question but i want to make sure so i don’t overfeed – my dog eats wet food and is supposed to get 1/2 can a day – the can is 13 oz – so i figured out that she will be getting 6 oz a day – 2 oz / 3 x a day – is this correct?

  • cwissytina


  • InkedMarie

    Hi Kathy,
       As others have said, Iams is not a very good quality food. I adopted a dog who was obese and we used Wellness Core’s reduced fat food, feeding her the amount of food for what she *should* weigh. 
       You can try that food or any good quality food, preferably grainfree and feed the amount for what she should weigh.

  • Pattyvaughn

    My 14 lbs Jack Russell gets 1/2 cup a day and she is pretty active.  HDM gave some great advice.  Better quality of food, vet check up, decrease the amount you’re feeding, increase the intensity of her exercise, you’ll see the extra weight fall off and she’ll start acting young and energetic again.  Good luck!!

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi Kathy Kroeplin –

    First of all, have you read the review for Iams? It’s a pretty low quality food – the first thing you might want to do is to pick out a better food for your girl. Assuming there isn’t an underlying health issue (such as a thyroid problem), weight loss is based on calorie consumption. If the dog is burning more calories than it’s consuming the dog will lose weight, if the dog is consuming more calories than it’s burning the dog will gain weight. So because you’re dog isn’t losing weight I would first have the dog checked out by the vet and have any underlying medical conditions ruled out. If you get the all clear from your vet you need to then reduce the portion size further and increase her exercise. If she’s acting hungry you can add some plain canned pumpkin (not pie filling) in with her food – the fiber will help make her feel full.

  • Kathy Kroeplin

    I have a maltese/chihuahua she is 3 yrs old and overweight. I have her on Iams for toy and small dogs 1/3 cup morning and 1/3 cup evening. Do you think this pie filling would help her to lose weight? I don’t understand why she is so heavy? I walk her daily and NO table food or dog snacks.

  • Forget all the corporate dog food and weight loss plans and just cut your dog’s food in half and serve with pumpkin pie filling (NO SPICES!) to the usual serving size. My sister’s obese King Charles lost 8 lbs in 2 months, 1/3 his body weight. She also now gives him frozen fresh carrots to chew on as treats instead of packaged dog treats…

  • Light


  • It might take some time to get his hormones straightened out.  My 27 lb dog gained 11 lbs after the procedure and took a year to get it off.  He remains at 30 lbs.  He got neutered at age 5.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Another thing to try for a dog that eats too fast is adding water to the food or putting something in the bowl, like a river rock, that your dog has to eat around.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Vets often recommend foods that are high in carbs which is not good for weight loss, so going with a higher protein food is a great starting place.  Next thing to do is to cut back his food.  There is no such thing as hormonal weight, weight is weight.  After castration, his metabolism has probably slowed down some so he needs less food, decrease his food a little and up the intensity of his exercise if you can, and then re-evaluate him in a couple weeks and see if you need to adjust his food again.

  • Guestcatchris

    thanks.. i get confused reading labels……..but nevertheless, if my  dog eats tiny kibbles, she eats too fast , does not chew and throws it up…large crunchy is great for her….so, i will just get large kibbles and not worry about the LIGHT sideof cal..

  • Nicola Mcwaters

    My dog has steadily gained weight since he was castrated, he is on a low fat diet recommended by the vet and gets walked approximately for 2 1/2 hours every day, but is still gaining weight. Is it possible that it is hormonal weight & if so what can de done?

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  • Hound Dog Mom

    Catchris –

    Calories per cup doesn’t matter. Total calories consumed and total calories burned is all that matters. Figure out how many calories your dog needs to lose weight, divide that number by the number of calories in a cup of kibble you’re feeding and that’s how many cups a day you should feed. As a general rule higher quality kibbles are more calorie dense and lower quality kibbles are less calories dense (more fillers).

  • Core Reduced Fat kibble is medium triangular in shape.

  • Catchris

    what caloreis per cup is good for weightloss in a 9 year old dog? and also, some of the kibbles are so tiny they go all over the floor. i need a weightloss and with bigger kibbles for my 9 year old border collie lab and for my 3 fat cats all 15, years old. thanks.

  • mtnweekly

    I really don’t get how a dog can be overweight?  That being said same goes for humans.  Causes of Overweight Dogs can be found here:

  • BryanV21

    Oh, I read that wrong, sorry. I thought she was saying it should be at or right around 25%. I happen to think a food at least a little higher in protein would be better. 

  • BennyandJoon

    The whole dog journal says the MINIMUM the protein should be is 25%.

  • BryanV21

    There is definitely credence to the low carb thing, so I think it’s a good plan. I don’t agree with the 25% protein thing though, as I don’t see why high protein for an overweight dog would be an issue.

    But Acana is an excellent food, so you’ve definitely “moved on up”.

  • ruledbyachi

    oops – calculations are wrong – 1/2 cup = 215 cals.
    this acana formula has 430 calories. so 215 + 26.9 =
    241.9 cals. – too high right?

  • ruledbyachi

    i just read  an article from the the whole journal
    stating that for a dog to lose weight the dry food should be a minimum of 25% protein, 12-16% fat, and low carbs. I have a bag of Acana Duck and Pear that i’m going to start feeding her. I’ll give her a 1/2 cup for the day = 161 cal. and 1/16 cup at night = 26.9 cal. – together that’s 187.9 cal for the day. She needs a little snack to get her through the night.

  • BryanV21

    I have another reply coming, but for some reason it needs to be approved before posting. I must have used a word that gets flagged (no, it’s not a swear word). 

  • ruledbyachi


    thanks for your reply
    i’ve been told that feeding just canned food will help her lose weight better than dry. do you think this is correct?

  • BryanV21

    Seeing what you feed I’m not surprised your pup doesn’t feel full. Once you get past the first ingredient, which is chicken meal, it’s all filler. Corn gluten meal, corn, pearled barley, wheat, brown rice, powdered cellulose, natural flavors (whatever that means), wheat gluten, chicken fat, rice hulls, dried beet pulp, brewers dried yeast… that’s a ton of filler, which tells me most of the food is going right through your dog.

    Look at California Natural Low Fat Chicken & Rice. It has lower fat (RC has 9% minimum, to Cal Nat’s minimum of 7%). Cal Nat has a bit more calories, but when you take into account the lower fat, and much better ingredients (very little filler), it’s a no-brainer to me. And that’s not including the fact that 13lb bag of RC costs $34.99 (at Petco), while my store charges $28.99 for a 15lb bag of the Cal Nat.

    And like HDM just said… add some chopped vegetables like frozen green beans.

  • ruledbyachi


    i’m feeding my dog royal canin mini weight care.  she’s been on it since this past june.
    have tried many foods for the past year and a half but didn’t like any of them. so when i bought a bag of the royal and found that she likes it her vet says don’t change it. she’s a lb overweight. she seems to be hungry. she’s fed 1/4 cup 2 x day and 1/16 cup at night. should i add a bit of canned dog food? would that help her feel full? i’ve tried canned pumpkin(bought at pet store) but that doesn’t seem to be helping.
    what canned dog food should i use? she’s a 3 yr old chihuahua. her vet says that she should be getting around 184 calories/day, and she does get exercised. walked 4 x day = 1hr – 1hr 20mins.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    I completely agree about lowing carbs (I always suggest high protein foods for weightloss…well and non weightloss for that matter lol) and the idea about chopping is actually a good idea, I didn’t think of that. I just feel adding veggies will allow the dog more food. 1/4 of veggies probably only has about 10-20 calories so that’s only about 2 – 5 grams of carbs – not enough to throw off the balance of the diet.

  • doggonefedup

    Agreed. but every one has their own opinion on what works. That is what makes this is such a great sight. My thoughts are chop don’t puree the vegetables (whole corn vs cornmeal) they will provide the bulk and be less digestible (calories out). Oatmeal (prepared) even in very small amounts will help control appetite because it stays in the stomach for a prolonged time. Lowering carbs and increasing fats will put the body into a fat burning mode. You can even eliminate all carbs for a couple days just to quicken he change over to fat burning mode. This is the Atkins approach and it works as well on dogs as it works on humans. Personal experience, I trimmed a GSD from 145lbs down to 96lbs in under a year using the atkins diet as a guideline.  

  • Hound Dog Mom

    I disagree. This would just be increasing the calories. Weight loss ultimately comes down to calories in/calories out. I agree with feeding a high protein/moderate fat/low carb kibble (I don’t think feeding a high carb low fat kibble provides any benefits and it will leave the dog feeling more hungry) but then topping with something like oatmeal or meat will just add calories. Assuming the dog is eating an appropriate kibble the dog can only eat a certain amount to be within the appropriate calorie range of losing weight, adding any calorie dense toppings beyond that will merely bring the dog above the weigh-losing amount of calories. I’m suggested adding pureed veggie in small amounts merely to allow the dog to have a larger volume of food. If you substitute pureed veggies for a small amount of the food they would normally eat it will keep the intake at the same volume but reduce the number of calories. Veggies contain so little calories and so much moisture that, for example, replacing 1/4 cup of food per day with veggies will cut about 100 calories but will not affect the overall nutrient balance of the meal (fat/protein/carbs) in any significant way.

  • doggonefedup

    I don’t know that you would want to puree the veggies. That would make them more digestible for a dog. You could however try adding oatmeal as an appetite suppressant and cut back on the size of the meals, and/or increase fats w/ lower carbs. while cutting back on the size of the meal. Fats will make you feel full longer. sugar and starch will actually increase the appetite. 

  • Hound Dog Mom


    If she’s not active you’re really just going to need to restrict her food intake. I’d eliminate treats and only feed her two small meals a day. You can mix in pureed veggies to add some bulk to the food without adding a lot of calories. Is there anyone who would walk her for you…a family member or a neighbor? Or you could try just sitting in a chair in the yard and throwing a ball if that would get her interested in moving around.

  • Khuh2

    My problem is , my mix needs to loose 20 pounds but I can’t take her for a walk because I am disabled and can’t walk longer that a few minutes myself.
    I took her to the vet to get tested for thyroid . Everything is fine. We put her on recommended diet dogfood and that did not work to good because my other 2 dogs wanted that food too. ( I have to feed the 3 together)
    I have a big fenced in yard but she likes just to lay around Is there any thing else I could try?
    Thanks for any help

  • Pattyvaughn

    I have a 40 lb Border Collies who eats 2 cups a day and my 65 lb German shepherds eat 4 cups a day, all are very active. It may be that 4 cups for your laid back BC is still way to much.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi Lola Montez,

    Homemade diets are great and would be a wonderful option for weightloss but you really need to make sure they’re balanced. If you were feeding her only poultry, vegetables, olive oil, and yogurt that is very unbalanced and not safe to feed long term. I feed my dogs homemade raw the general outline is:

    80% Meat of which 80% is muscle meat, 10% bone, 10% organ meat. You must feed organ meat unless you are accounting for the vitamins/minerals in the organ meat through supplementation. Because you cook the meat you would need to omit the bone and add 1,000 mg. calcium for every 1 lb. of meat fed. Also you should not feed only poultry, red meat and poultry have different fats so an even mixture of each should be fed or else the fats will be unbalanced.

    20% pureed lightly steamed fruits & veggies

    Supplements: 1) Trace Nutrient supplement (I use wholefoods supplements only and rotate often – rotating is key – some I use often are kelp, alfalfa, spirulina, and bee pollen), Vitamin E (vitamin e is difficult to supply in adequate quantities through food alone, I give 100 i.u. per 25 lbs.), Essential Fatty Acids (fish body oil or tinned sardines are best).

    Extras: Eggs, Cottage cheese, yogurt, etc. has some great articles on homemade food if you would like to continue or to simplify things you can just use a premix such as The Honest Kitchen’s Preference or Sojo’s – with a premix all the hard work is done and all you need to do is add meat and water.

    If you’re going to feed a kibble go with a high protein/low carb kibble. Carbohydrates tend to promote weight gain in dogs and most lowfat/weight loss kibbles are very high carbs. Look for at least 30% protein. You can replace some of the kibble with pureed veggies to bulk it up without adding calories, it will help make her feel full.

    Also to help her get around better try a joint supplement. If you don’t already have her on a maintenance supplement with glucosamin and chondroitin I would recommend putting her on one of these. Also, Boswellia, Bromerlainm and Yucca are great natural anti-inflammatories that may help her get around better. Vet’s Best makes a reasonably priced supplement called “Muscle & Joint” with MSM, Boswellia, Turmeric, Yucca, and Bromelain.

    Good Luck!

  • We have adopted a 5 year old border collie from a local shelter; she is a sweet and pretty dog, but she’s very overweight — should weigh around 45 lbs, but weighs 70 lbs. She was fat at the time she was take in at the shelter; she was also severely injured (pit bull attack) and unable to exercise for a long time. So — this was not my doing. My last dog, also a BC, was very slender and we actually had to feed her extra to keep her weight up!

    Most BCs are pretty active, so I was surprised to see one overweight! She does not gobble food, or beg excessively and she loves walks, though not as fast or active as our old dog. She is a little stiff in her legs, which could be her injuries or her weight or both. She has trouble going up and down stairs too. This is sad for a relatively young dog.

    I think she could be greatly improved if I could get her down to even 50 lbs, but it is hard. I have had her on IAMs “natural” kibble which is lamb based, but she didn’t like it (god knows what they were fed in the shelter) so I swtiched her to a whole food diet of boiled chicken or turkey, cooked vegetables, broth from the boiled turkey and a bit of olive oil. Also a spoonful of plain (unsweetened) low fat Greek yogurt daily.

    She loves this, but I don’t see ANY weight loss, despite 4 walks daily. Vet is no help, only wants us to buy expensive “science diet” from HIM and insists she must be eating too much. She gets NO treats whatsoever, just the chicken/veggie mixture, about 4 cups a day (broken into 2 servings).

    Any suggestions? As in humans, I think this is much more difficult and intractable than simplistic advice to “eat less, exercise more!’ The fact is, it just plain doesn’t always work, or enough to make a real difference. This dog DESPERATELY needs to lose 20 lbs and I need something more effective than this!!!!

  • melissa


    Interesting, and what exactly is the need for it? Obesity can be controlled and reversed by owners willing to feed the proper amounts of food-no matter what kind of food. It would seem to me that a good all life stage would be appropriate for this age bracket. Not only that, but since the nutritional requirements are different from dog to dog, let alone breed to breed, it strikes me as a marketing ploy to simply sell more Nutro. To me, it reeks of “breed specific nutrition” foods that another company put out there to get uneducated owners to believe that since their dog is a particular breed, they must feed the food labeled for it. Lmao.

    I would think if Nutro spent more time up grading the products that they already have, they would be able to encompass a larger share of the kibble market .

  • M_ferraro

    Nutro has the first ever, Young Adult life stage coming in late august.  Developed by Waltham and Banfield.  for 6 mo. to 2yrs.  specific nutrition to aid in maximum development and to curb obesity in that age span. 

  • J-CHICK_2

    give him to someone who has the time for him that he deserves because a golden retriever need to be walked more than once a month!!!!

  • melissa


    you have to convert the canned food to a dry matter basis-remove the moisture to get the numbers. If you look at the top of each review, Mike has done it for us : )

  • Omni_DIYer

    I have a question: In the footnotes here, it says, for canned food, average protein is 40%, average fat is 23%. Are these numbers correct?  When I look at the crude protein on food packages, I’m seeing 8%, 9%, 9.5% on products recommended by Dog Food Advisor.  What don’t I understand here?

  • Johnandchristo

    HAHA good luck.

  • LabsRawesome

     Shivam96, UUMMM what’s up with all the periods? If your post is real, and not a joke, you should give your dog to someone that has time for him.

  • Mary Rovelyn Cabrales

    this is totally an amazing guide that explains the risks of being overweight (dogs) . This is also a very essential guide in informing all people about its risks. It is also impressive for it shows how to get rid of being overweight in dogs. thanks a lot for this share. I have linked this astounding article to mine in here:

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  • I. Don’t. Get. It. My. Dog it trying. To. Lose. Weight I. Mean. We. Are. Trying. To. Make. Him! Lose. Weight. We. Really. Don’t. Have. Time. For. Him. Which they. .don’t. Say. Apparently. I. Get. Tired. I. Planned. Some. Things. For. Him. In. The. Summer but. Don’t. Know.we. Can. Do. It. We. Take. Him. For. A. Walk. Once. A. Month. But. He is. Still. 95. Pounds. Golden. Retriever. I. Told. You. We. Bearly. Have. Time. For. Him

  • jboots

    oh and yes, going on more/longer walks now and picking up the pace! 

  • jboots

    Thanks! made me feel so much better! I was worried that she was at an older age so fixing her obesity issue would be more of a struggle. I feel awful that I had her fine for so long and now… FAT! 

    Her weight started creeping up was when the vet had her change to Science Diet wet dog food. I wasn’t happy with it so did research on dog food and she’s been on Wellness kibble for a while now, with a little water added. 

    For her weight loss I looked into homemade diets of various lean meats, balanced with calcium (ground egg shells), organs, certain veggies, and certain fruits. 130 calories a day. There were a couple of helpful websites… this is one…

    Thanks for sharing your photos of your pugs! Made me feel better and got me ready to get my pup back to her old shape! 

  • Jboots,

    What do you mean by “overweight dog this age?” Your yorkie is just 6, a young adult!!  And does she exercise now at all?  What are you feeding her?  She will lose weight by increasing exercise and reducing her calorie intake and reducing treats (dramatically). 

    I used to get all the obese pugs to put on a diet. (Now I just get heartworm pugs). They ALL lost weight eating a food that was: abover average in protein, grain free, and with average fat.  No diet food used. As a matter of fact, some lost weight on a mixture of a grain free food and a grain food together.  The grain free food boosted up the protein content of the grain food and lowered the carbs.  And they walked once a day and received a very small treat for potty break.  These obese (seriously, some were morbidly obese) pugs ranged in age from young to 12 years old.  The vet also suggested a weight loss of only 2% to 5% a month which is very small.  I used 2%-3%. I always like to use this photo as an example.  The poor (pig)pug was 38 pounds and went down to 28 pounds before he was adopted out or I would have made him lose a little more.

  • jboots

    My yorkie is 6 years old and is considered “obese.” She’s over 7 lbs and should be about 5. I’m disappointed in myself since I didn’t see this creeping up. She went from (in my eyes) a cute little chub, to now an unhealthy pup 🙁 . I could kick myself! I’m starting her on a diet and did a bunch of research on how to make homemade dog food and I am boosting her exercise. But I’m worried about her age and pushing her exercise to lose this weight. Any advice or someone have experience with an overweight dog this age?.. please advise.. I feel terrible.. 

  • Toxed2loss

    L.B. sure,
    Just like it does in people. The poorer quality of nutrition/environment they were getting, coupled with the older they are, the longer it will take to “shrink up.” As we age collagen and elastin formation in the skin is impaired. That’s what gives our skin that youthful appearance. So, make sure your pet is getting lots of clean water, protein, joint & marrow, for their diet. Reduce environmental toxins, and pharmaceuticals, and their skin will improve, and be less saggy, as well as adding years to their lives. 😉

  • L.B.

    Can loosing weight cause loose skin in an older dog?

  • daisy1999

    This is all dependent on your dog, their food, and how much exercise they get.  There is a dog food calculator in the left hand column to help guide you.  It will guide you as to how many calories your dog should have for the weight you want it to be.  This is only going to serve as a guide.  I have a dog that it says should have 1.6 cups of her food and she only gets 3/4 cup.  When reducing your dogs calories, don’t try to do it to quick or you are going to have a hungry unhappy dog-know that from experience.  Go slow.  Also, remember that if you give treats, they count as the daily calories, and they can add up quickly depending on what you are giving.  As far as how much exercise your dog needs to lose weight, there is no magic formula.  Just increase their exercise.

  • does anyone know how many steps or calories a dog needs to burn to lose one pound

  • MayLooG30

    You said it.  Eat less, exercise more.  The same for people.  Imagine that!   The vet pointed it out to me that my dog needed to lose weight so I put him on a weight-loss natural dog food.  He liked it and it worked, along with the exercise.  I’m glad really good natural brands make the reduced calorie foods like Natural Balance, etc.  We stay on our exercise routine every day and he’s still on the Ultra.  I want us both to live longer and happier lives.

  • Alexandra

    Thanks Shawna,

    No problem.

    I really think it was isolated to the ear back then. He was about 10 months when the hair loss and skin lesions started.

    I met both of his parents and they were in very good shape despite the inferior food. They had nice coats no patches of hair missing etc. This why I want to believe that it isn’t systemic, this wasn’t a constant thing.

  • Shawna

    Hi Alexandra ~~ glad you commented on the other thread as I missed this 🙂

    A yeast infection at 10 weeks 🙁  Was it isolated to the ear or do you think it was systemic at this early age?  Could have been passed through the breast milk if systemic..  Yes, the steroids and antibiotics would worsen a yeast infection (my mom gets thrush (an oral yeast infection) every time she has to take antibiotics for any reason)..  Not to mention the toll on the immune system.

    My guess is his mom was not fed well and his immune system was compromised right from the get go??  If she isn’t getting the proper and correct amount of nutrients there is no way he could..  Example, inadaquate sodium intake can cause kidney weakness in a human baby (guessing it would be the same for a puppy).

    If you have eliminated the problem (be it systemic yeast or an allergy) you can build the healthy back up..  Just a matter of time.  Look at my Audrey.  She is definitely compromised having been born with kidney disease.  Proper nutrition and a toxin free environment (as much as can) can do wonders for a compromised individual.  Hang in there!!!!

  • Alexandra

    My iPad is being goofy. So that was when the itching began. Then the hair came off of his elbows and the itching began. Three to four treatments of antibiotics and steroids later AND no improvement later, I continued my research and found DFA. Switched to Brothers and today at a 95% improvement.

    I just wonder the meds coupled with the young puppy that created a perfect storm in his young body and set up all of these other issues and months of frustration.

    Right now it’s 180 to feed him a month. I am a firm believer in getting what you pay for, but it is half of my car payment.

  • Alexandra


    It started off with an ear infection at about 10 weeks of age. His breeder had his litter on purina puppy chow, which I changed as soon as I brought him home. I had moved him to Holistic Select LB puppy, first 30 pound bag was fine then the loose stools started, at that time brand was sold to Wellpet and they changed recepie, then I did a bit of research and moved to Orijen. I put him on a mix of LB puppy and 6 fish, and everything was wonderful for a few months, then a second ear infection

  • Shawna

    Why were the meds given in the first place? 

    This is what the Texas A & M University College of Veterinary Medicine says about IgA deficiency in GSDs.

    “Dogs with IgA deficiency may not have any clinical signs at all, but if they do, they typically show clinical signs starting at a young age. These include recurrent infections of the skin, respiratory, gastrointestinal, or urinary tract. Allergies, especially food allergies or atopy are frequently observed. It has been speculated that dogs with IgA deficiency are more prone to intestinal diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). Immunoglobuline A deficiency might predispose to an infection with enteropathogenic E. coli bacteria, which can cause severe diarrhea, vomiting and fever.”

    If I remember your descriptions of Dante’s issues, he fits the profile based on the above data. 🙁

    What I haven’t figured out yet is if IgA binds to all lectins or just certain ones?  Could he have potato but not barley??  However, if IgA binds to all lectins then I would limit the problem ones as much as possible.  Just me though 🙂

  • Alexandra

    Makes total sense.
    I have just been reading about it and no two people agree.

    I will admit that I am loath to changing anything with my boys, especially Dante given all the stuff that we had been through.

    I have started offering them some raw, but where I live there isn’t a close by butcher to get organ meat etc. And I cant do 100% raw as they get kenneled a few times a year. I am trying to cut down on costs somewhere.

    Him being deficient concerns me and knowing what I know now, all of the medications prescribed by my vet at that time has probably compromised him for life and he is such a young dog.

    I have since moved onto a holistic vet, our first appointment is on the 17th.

    He still has lingering itchiness.

  • Shawna

    Hi Alexandra ~~ 🙂  No, I’d wait til months after the symptoms are no longer seen just to be safe.. 

    I don’t fully understand IgA yet but because GSDs can have a genetically predisposed deficiency, and IgA is important in reducing the damage from lectins, I’d be hesitant to introduce any problem lectin foods to a GSD that has had a history of leaky gut or digestive issues..  Especially a kibble that would be eaten every day.  Does that make sense?

  • Alexandra

    Lol Shawna!

    If dealing with Candida, if symptoms are gone, would you test said animal hypothetically speaking? With say a potato containing treat or kibble? Been reading up on Candida because of Dante and everything I have read not one person really either agrees or covers this.

  • Shawna

    WARNING: Rated S for scientific situations 😉

    If you are doing everything right and your dog (or you) is still having troubles losing weight, consider eliminating ALL grains, potatoes, peas and garbonzo beans from the diet and feeding protein, fat and veggies/fruits.  The below addresses weight issues in humans but may very well apply to our pets too..

    “A very important and interesting feature of some lectins is their ability to mimic hormones. As one can imagine, this could contribute a significant impact on metabolism. The hormone insulin stores excess carbohydrates (glucose) as fat. It accomplishes this by attaching itself to the insulin receptor found on the fat cell. Under stimulation from insulin, the fat cell becomes more permeable to glucose, which would otherwise remain in circulation. With mission accomplished, the insulin hormone then disconnects to its receptor. In many people, lectins found in lentils, green peas, corn, potatoes but especially wheat germ agglutinin (WGA), are known to bind to the insulin receptor giving the fat cell the same message that insulin gives, namely to make fat. The lectin, however, due to a lack of feedback inhibition, remains indefinitely attached to the receptor giving the cell a constant message to make fat.20-25 This perhaps explains why many weight loss programs that include a moderate-to-high amount of carbohydrate (especially modern grain) fail.

    One other point with regard to lectin contribution to weight gain is the fact that lectins have been shown to block digestive hormones. WGA can bind to the receptor for cholecystokinin (CCK), a hormone involved in appetite control, suppressing its function.26-27 This essentially leads to an increase in appetite and impairment in the release of digestive enzymes.”

  • flagyl

    Tremendous Experienced Source! I have found one of the great way about how to help our overweight dog to lose weight. It’s truly one of the most pet friendly information for me. I am completely crazy to see this one. Thanks for sharing.

  • Anonymous

    I work with pet owners for my job, and I am very surprised at how many of them have no idea how much their pet weighs.  They tell me that they haven’t taken them to the vet so don’t know his/her weight.  If you have a scale at home, and a dog you can lift, then you can monitor your dog’s weight.  I have a 50 lb. dog and a 60 lb. dog, and I weigh myself, take note of it, then hold my dog and weigh myself again, subtracting my weight from the second weight with both of us… This is invaluable in figuring out how much you should be feeding your dog because the feeding guidelines are so wide.  One of the dogs was severely underweight when I adopted her, and once she got to her target weight, she continued to gain.  I cut back the food, and monitored the weight to make sure she wasn’t going below the target.  It’s amazing how little even active dogs on a premium dog food need to maintain weight.  My 60 lb girl only needs 2 1/4 cups of Blue Buffalo Wilderness.

  • melissa

    DFN-Wow! That is great to say the least(the loss, not the gain, lol) Hubby and I used to eat lots of fast food due to work schedules etc. We decided to lose a few lbs and simply cut back calories and eat home-Simply with those changes both of us are losing the “fast food fat” : )

  • Shawna

    Before and after pictures of foster dog (now forever dog) Mimi.  Came in at 29 pounds.  After photo is 14 pounds.  Has about 2 more pounds to lose.  She was not able to exersize during the weight loss due to extreme obesity, extreme heat and severe winter last year.

    We didn’t count calories.  Fed high protein, low carb, moderate fat raw diet.

  • Shawna

    DFN — LOL, I hear ya!! My diet has been horrible since my daughter and grand babies moved in a few months ago (4 and 17 months old).. I don’t think I’ve eaten out this much in — well, a long time..

  • All the beer didn’t help either… lol

  • Shawna, I’m proof of that! I stopped eating all breads, pastas, white potato, corn, and what-not, and went paleo and lost 30 pounds! Then my boys were born and I started “cheating” here and there… Ice cream and biscuits and pizza… oh my! and lo and behold, I’ve put 5 or 6 pounds back on. 🙁

  • Shawna

    While compiling data for a recent consultation I came across a research paper in the Journal of Nutrition that I thought would be a nice compliment to the very well written article above… The paper is regarding protein and weight loss.

    The paper is titled “High-Protein Low-Carbohydrate Diets Enhance Weight Loss in Dogs”

    A quote from the “Discussion” at the end of the paper. “Changing the macronutrient profile of a canine weight-loss diet from a high-carbohydrate level to one primarily based on protein can promote greater weight loss without further reductions in caloric intake. This weight loss is driven primarily from an increased loss of fat mass while maintaining lean muscle mass.”

    High protein diet to lose fat and gain muscle without severly restricting calories and creating hunger — a win win for doggy!!!

  • Hi Angie… Finding a quality dog food that’s right for two dogs with completely different health issues is not likely. Unfortunately, since I’m not a veterinarian and due to the biological uniqueness of each pet, it would be inappropriate for me to provide specific product recommendations for each reader. Please see our FAQ page and our reviews for more information. Or check back for a possible response from one of our other readers. Wish I could be more help.

  • angie cooper

    Hi, I need help I have 2 dogs one is 10 years old mix and she has kidney disease and the other is 6 he is fine just over weight he is like a cattle dog mix I need to find a good dog food for them please help thank u.

  • Elise

    It is also very important to switch food slowly (2-4 weeks to swap) for a senior dog or one who has digestive upsets. I also supplement with pro-bios, a probiotic supplement I purchase from

  • Elise

    I have had rescued dogs for several years-all of which have had the above symptoms. I switched first to Wellness Core and now feed Orijen. I absolutely love both foods. The key is feeding the proper amounts of food (the feeding guide on the bag is often too much) and making sure they are getting exercise. This can be very difficult with older dogs who are prone to joint problems. I recommend a good joint supplement from a young age for prevention and holistic remedies for joint inflammation (such as blackstrap molasses) to help. You should also try to provide some lower impact exercise such as walking on softer surfaces or swimming. As far as the allergies, both of these foods are great for dogs with allergies, unless the allergy is chicken. I am currently feeding Wellness to my husbands dog to help him loose weight.

  • sharron


    I have a 2 yr old moderate active yorkie/chihuahua.
    She needs to lose a lb. She currently weighs 9 lbs.
    I just switched her to K9 Natural Dehydrated Vension.
    Will she able to lose this extra weight from this type of diet.

  • Tina

    Hi Christine. I also went through the same experience as you are going through with my senior pug. He started to loose hair, lots of it, and I also had him on a Purina product. In our experience, he did not do good at all on purina. First off, what I have learned in my seven plus years with my pug, is that out of all the dog breeds, they tend to have the worst allergies to food than any other breed I have ever owned. (like I said, this is just has been the case for me) My pugs, scratching was neverending, and had the nasties in his ears, and gained weight easily. Until I started to read up on all this dog food allergy problems. I switched his dog food to no corn, wheat, and no soy formula, and have had pretty good results. The first brand I switched to was 4 health lamb (dry), and he seemed to loose weight immediately, and his shedding, and itching didn’t seem to be nearly as bad. But, since going through one 5lb bag so far, I have noticed that his stool is extremely runny. Could be from the lack of carbs I am guessing. I tell you that I believe my pug, in particular, is allergic to everything!!..I think I am going to maybe switch his food to another brand, that is also grain free, and see if that helps with the loose stools. I also started to bathe him with J&J baby shampoo, and have had pretty good luck with the hair loss there too. Also, my pug is terribly allergic to fleas as well. Just one flea bite, sends him into a tailspin like no other and he digs until he gets sores. I get the once a month flea pill from the vets, (mostly thru summer months) and that seems to really help with his allergies in that area. Sometimes I also give him a spoonful of just plain nonfat yogurt, with a childrens benadryl, and that seems to help him as well. These are just some of the things that have helped us, and kept me and my pug from going insane with the neverending scratching. I hope this helps.

  • Christine

    We have them all on Purina One. I have noticed them all having red ears a lot, itching, scratching, licking a lot, stomach sensitivites, and they all shed…his just started to in clumps and more than usual, so that is why we took him in today. Plus, the coloring around those areas didn’t look right. I have noticed them doing the above things a lot and then started reading about dog food and thought maybe switching them off Purina One may help their symptoms. I appreciate and thank you for your feed back so much! I am very happy to hear that they can all go on the same food still as I was planning. Again, thank you. I am very new to this site and it has been a true help so far! : )

  • Hi Christine… Over the year, I’ve had 4 pugs. They all looked overweight and they all shed a lot of hair. So, I’m not sure you can link these problems to your pet’s food. Your senior doesn’t need his own special food. As a matter of fact, it’s OK to have all three dogs on an all life stage food. But be sure to measure and feed less to your less active senior.

  • Christine

    I just went to the vet with my senior pug…was trying to get them all on one excellent food (better than Purina One) and his hair has been falling out excessively just recently. He is 25 lbs. and was 23lbs(vet made comment he was getting heavy), also, he was given a steroid shot, antibiotcs, special shampoo and told to take zyrtec.
    The spots were scaly and infected(from scratching/licking) and said there could be possible yeast on them….does anyone know what this could be caused by? Should I have him on a weight formula, as opposed to having them all three on an All Life Stages? I haven’t switched foods yet, still trying to decide on which one will be good for all of them. Any suggestions would be great! Thanks!

  • Pia Florenzano

    hi i have a 15m old aussie she is a little overweight,i like to do it gentle first of all she eats to fast always looking to eat she gets a lot of exercise, and has a big Jard to run wit my other aussie which is 4month,i want to keep them healthy and not overweight

  • Kathleen

    Great article. I would like to add that most dog food labels tell you to feed your dog far more than they need. for example: my dog weighs 60lbs, my dog food says a dog that size needs approximately 4 1/2 cups of food, yet I feed her 2 1/2 cups of food and she maintains her weight. pay attention to your dog not the label and listen to your vet.