Should my dog lose weight?
In dogs, it does not exist“body mass index, as in humans, to determine if your pet is overweight or obese. On the other hand, it is estimated that a dog is overweight as soon as it reaches its optimal weight by 15% and that it is obese when it reaches or exceeds 20% of its optimal weight.
For example: a Labrador with an optimal weight of 30 kg is considered overweight when it reaches 34.5 kg and as obese when it reaches 36 kg.
More simply, we can appreciate the construction of a dog thanks to the observation of her silhouette shown in the profile and from above and in the palpation of the animal’s body. Veterinarians themselves also use these reference points in a grading grid with 5 to 9 steps to determine the score of an animal’s body condition.
So, according to this grid, in a dog whose weight is optimal, we see, when we look at it from above, its size becomes slightly behind the sides. In the profile, there is a clear abdominal depression. The bones are not visible from a distance except for the floating nerves in short hair. When you feel the animal with your hands flat and without pressure, you should feel its bones under a thin layer of adipose tissue and be able to measure its sides with your fingers without exerting pressure.
In an animal in overweight, the nerves are no longer easily palpable or measurable without finger pressure. The size and abdomen are slightly visible or not visible, but we can see fat in the animal’s abdomen.
In an animal obese, the nerves are no longer palpable and even pressing with the fingers and fat deeply alters the silhouette of the animal in which we no longer see the waist or abdomen. It is generally said that the silhouette of an obese animal can fit into a fantastic rectangle.
Being overweight and obese in dogs have essentially the same effects as humans: it predisposes especially to heart disease, infections and endocrine disorders and reduces the animal’s life expectancy by about 20%. Being overweight also affects a dog’s well-being on a daily basis: an overweight dog will have more trouble moving and will be less likely to breathe. Similarly, the joints of her legs, which are more stressed, will weaken!
Fortunately, losing weight reduces all of these risks!
Understand how and why my dog grew up …
In fact: in the vast majority of cases, overweight or obesity of the dog results from a period during which Energy consumption was higher than animal costs. The excess calories consumed compared to the needs were then stored in the form of excess fat in the source of the animal’s excess weight.
There are two reasons that can explain this imbalance between contributions and expenses:
- the The dog’s energy consumption increased. This is the case if the dog eats too much compared to his real needs: very high-calorie foods, “self-service” croquettes, incorrect calculation of the quantities of croquettes he has to give to his dog resulting in too “generous” diets, distribution of very large quantities. delicacies outside meals…
- and / or energy costs have been reduced. This can happen if the basic metabolism needed to perform your dog’s vital functions is reduced after sterilization or if his physical activity is reduced (fewer walks, retired dog hunting, etc.).
Before you even consider putting your dog on a diet, it is therefore important to know the reasons that led your pet to gain weight. As you can see, these are very common dietary mistakes that you, his master, have made … thinking you’re doing the right thing. Of course, it is not pleasant to read, but this awareness is necessary and important to avoid repeating these mistakes and to realize the weight loss of your animal.
How do I make my dog lose weight?
In order for your dog to lose weight, it is necessary combine a reduced caloric intake brought by food with one higher energy costs through more physical exercise.
Reduce your dog’s calorie intake
Reducing your calorie intake should follow certain rules. Actually, it is not enough to arbitrarily reduce the amount of food distributed your dog suffers from hunger, even if it does not adequately meet his nutritional needs (especially protein) and shorten it.
To reduce your dog’s calorie intake as part of his weight loss, the method you follow is a little more structured. He asks call a veterinarian because it consists of:
- Determine the optimal weight for your dogthat is, the weight your pet should reach after balancing his food. This is a weight especially for any dog: not necessarily the ideal weight of the dog according to its breed pattern, but at least weighs less than 15% overweight,
- Calculate your dog’s energy maintenance needs according to the optimal weight of your dog defined above. This need also depends on other factors such as his sedentary lifestyle, sterilization and race,
- Calculate the dog’s new energy requirement during the weight loss period. This new need generally represents 80% of the animal’s energy maintenance needs previously calculated
- Choose the type of food that will meet the new need for reduced energy of the dog during its weight loss period without being exposed to deficiencies, especially in proteins. For crocodile-fed dogs, the choice will therefore usually be on low-calorie but high-protein foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids (to help fight the chronic inflammatory condition caused by being overweight or obese).
- Calculate the daily amount of new food that will be given to the dog.
Obviously, reducing calorie intake should be accompanied by delete all “sides”. This means small rewards, such as cookies, chewing gum, etc., in short, all the delicacies distributed to the dog except for his main meals. If your dog can’t do without it (or you can’t do it without giving it!), Consider reducing the amount of food depending on the number of delicacies taken at the next meal or replacing the cookies with light ones. delicacies (such as small carrot sticks) or cooked chicken breast (without skin), low in calories and very popular with our furry children.
Increase your dog’s energy expenditure
Easier than reducing calorie intake, increasing energy expenditure is simply increase your dog’s physical activity. This can include increasing the frequency and duration of the walks (if possible, without a leash so that the dog can run well), more home or outdoor play sessions, practicing a dog sport…
If your dog is overweight and ashamed of being overweight, however, you should be careful to make him continue to exercise very gradually, with short and not very intense sessions at first. Similarly, avoid overly intense exercises in dogs with “crushed snouts” so that you do not place them in breathing difficulties.
Fight your dog’s craving for food
A new low calorie diet can expose the dog to cravings. To help your pet not get hungry during its feeding period, it is possible:
- divide the amount of food into 3 meals a day instead of 2 or only one,
- fill the bowl with steamed vegetable croquettes whose fiber content will promote satiety. If your dog is not used to it, gradually introduce it into his bowl so that it does not cause intestinal disorders.
Weight loss in a dog is long process, which lasts several months and the results are not very visible at first. This can be even greater in obese animals in which exercise is more difficult and basic metabolism is reduced. Therefore, it is important to be patient and respect the “diet + exercise” program of your pet, which was created with your veterinarian. Leave for an average of 4 to 5 months for weight loss of about 15%.
The best thing to do during the weight loss phase is to monitor your dog from his veterinarian every month. A healthcare professional will help you stay motivated and you can make adjustments if you think weight loss is too fast or too slow. At the end of your dog’s diet, he will also give you valuable advice to prevent the animal from gaining weight.