Some dogs have higher metabolic rates than others, but for most dogs the recommended daily amount on dog food bags/tins is usually too much.
If you are feeding a good quality food your dog can often eat much less than the label says and still get all the nutrients necessary for good health. Feed only what your pet needs to maintain a healthy weight.
You should be able to naturally feel your dog’s ribs and backbone under his skin. Look for bulges over the hips and around the ribs where excess weight shows up, as well as a pendulous round belly. Choose a good quality pet food that fits your pet’s lifestyle.
If your dog is very active, look for a food made for working dogs. If your pet is lazy, he needs a low calorie food. Limit treats, snacks and table food. Just as with humans; it doesn’t take many extra treats to overdo the calorie intake, especially in small dogs.
Avoid processed treats – they are loaded with fat and salt, and are not good for your pet’s teeth. If you must feed treats, give small pieces, or bits of your pet’s regular food. Some dogs enjoy bits of raw carrot for example – these make perfect low-calorie snacks.
Make sure your dog gets the exercise he needs. If your garden is fenced, let him run all he wants and if he tends to be lazy, get him up and moving with a game of fetching a ball. Make a daily walk part of your daily routine and you should feel the benefits too.
To achieve a reasonable amount of weight loss in a reasonable amount of time you usually need to cut back your dog’s food by 25-30%. The easiest way to achieve this is to feed a prescription weight loss diet and to weigh your pet’s food daily.
These foods are lower in fat and higher in fibre, so you can feed an amount large enough to keep your pet feeling full, while still achieving weight loss. Most pets become less active with age, so their metabolic needs often go down, as they get older.
Decrease their food accordingly. Most senior pets benefit from a food made for senior pets which is lower in fat, protein and salt.