Dogs, and especially those chubby ones look irresistibly cute when they pant with their tongues out. But is that healthy? Well, if you were to ask vets, they’d tell you the risk involved in it as obese dogs are more prone to heart attacks.

Dogs who become obese due to unhealthy lifestyles are at a high risk of developing physical, mental, and behavioral conditions as well, which is why it is important to keep them in good shape. 

Here are some proven ways to make your chubby four-legged furry friend lose weight and get back into shape! 

1. Make a Weight Loss Plan for Your Dog

Devising a weight loss plan for your dog requires some professional consultation. You can’t expect your furry friend to lose weight by just reducing the quantity of food intake. Only a professional can give you a weight loss plan that includes the kind of diet your dog should take, the number of meals in a day, the exercise required, to the optimal calorie intake.

Ensure that the plan is based on your dog’s breed and body type. Again, only a professional can help you devise a plan accordingly. For instance, if you own a pit bull, the doc might suggest a diet that’s high on proteins and low on carb combined with rigorous exercise. This same plan might not work for, say, a Labrador. 

You must also inform the doctor about any underlying medical conditions your dog might have before drafting the weight loss plan. For example, if your dog has osteoarthritis or weak joints, then making him run as an exercise would do more harm than good and damage his joints further. 

In short, get help from an expert to devise a weight loss plan.

  1. Exercising: The Key to Dog Health Care

The best way to make your dog lose weight is by making them exercise. Physical activity will keep your dog in a good shape and maintain his weight. Make it a habit to walk your dogs regularly. The benefits of exercising and walking your dog – ranges from maintaining body weight, reducing the risk of developing health issues to keeping them mentally sound.

Other than physical benefits, exercise brings mental and behavioral benefits as well. Dogs who don’t exercise regularly have a higher chance of developing common health issues such as being tired all the time, depression, anxiety, hypertension, laziness, or insomnia. 

Apart from these, walking can also help your dogs dispense their excess energy. This can prove to be beneficial if your dog shows destructive behavior including barking all the time, being hyperactive, or being aggressive. 

Ensure that you make exercising fun for them. For instance, take them out to the dog park for a run instead of limiting their walks to your garden. This will also help them socialize with other dogs and humans. Play games with him or plan some fun activities like obstacle courses, etc.

3. Maintain a Healthy Diet

Giving your dog a balanced and healthy diet will do wonders. Not only will it help him lose weight but it will also reduce the risk of getting diabetes, heart disease, pancreatitis, or gastrointestinal illness.

Consult a vet to make a suitable diet plan for your dog to follow. Make sure the diet is based on factors such as the dog’s ideal weight, age, and underlying medical conditions (if any). Ideally, an appropriate diet for a healthy dog should be low in fats, sodium, and carbohydrates and rich in protein and fiber.

When you shop for dog food, make informed choices to assess what’s healthy and what isn’t. Also, ensure that your dog drinks a lot of water and stays hydrated at all times. 

Another pro tip is to give him small and frequent meals instead of feeding him large quantities of food two or three times a day. Doing this will keep your dog physically active and alert throughout the day.

4. Say “No” to Junk Food

Processed and junk food is a big NO! Some processed foods have extremely high sugar levels which are harmful to a dog's health. And even when you do buy processed food, always check the ingredients on the label to see whether it has the appropriate nutrition value.

Another important thing to keep in mind when trying to make your dog lose weight is to reduce his treats. Don’t fall for his adorable eyes and whining when he tries to beg for treats - it’s a trap! 

Keep treats for rare occasions. If your dog is still in training and you use treats to reward him, then switch to giving him non-food rewards such as a pat on the cheek, a kiss on the head, a tickle on his furry belly, or his favorite chew toy.

5. Consistency: The Core of Maintenance

Last but not least (ironically, this last step is the first and foremost thing to do to help your dog maintain his weight!), is to have consistency.

Make sure that your dog takes a proper diet and his required exercise every day. Make sure that lazy days and cheat days are occasional. As a dog owner, it is your responsibility to inculcate the values of discipline in your dog. After following the weight loss plan and making your dog achieve his weight loss goal, it is important to make that plan into his lifestyle. 

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