All Things Dog

How to Motivate an Overweight Dog

They say, let sleeping dogs lie. But, what if your portly pup wants nothing more than to lounge around with you on the couch? What can be done to get him up and at 'em? Plenty.

Follow the leader

As cuddly as he may be, an overweight dog is not just "big boned." Excess weight can lead to serious health problems. Fortunately, your dog relies on you to establish his eating and exercise routines. Dogs are social animals and most love activities that involve others. Especially those they're close to. This means that if you get excited about being active, your dog will likely respond in kind. Whatever activity you choose, make it fun.

Curb the need to overfeed

All the motivation in the world won't help trim down a dog that is continually overfed.

Think about it: Your dog can't overfeed himself. If you're regularly overfeeding him, it's important to know why—and what you should do to change your actions for the good of his health.

The four types of overfed dogs

  • The Nibbler eats small amounts all day long. Solution: Put only the recommended amount of food in his bowl.
  • The Beggar understands the idea of rewarded behavior. Solution: Reduce the amount of treats you feed. Replace food reward with petting, praise or play.
  • The Good Dog is used to you expressing your affection by feeding him. Solution: Express your love and affection in other ways, such as spending time together, petting, brushing, or simply talking to your dog.
  • The Gourmet is the kind of dog that has trained his owners to feed him "people food." Solution: Slowly remove the amount of people food in his diet.

Your dog should only be fed the proper-sized portion of food to maintain optimal body condition, or as recommended by a vet.

If your dog is overweight, please see your veterinarian to confirm the cause of your dog's condition. If you haven't been overfeeding or under-exercising him, there could be other reasons for increased weight, such as hypothyroidism.

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