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Boost Your Dog's Weight Loss

Looking for the perfect dog food to help your overweight pooch shed some pounds? Don’t be fooled by the vast array of commercial dog foods that claim to aid weight loss. Most contain similar ingredients to standard dog food, often substituting fat with extra carbs.

Navigating Dog Food for Overweight Dogs

When seeking a diet for overweight dogs, you'll encounter numerous weight-loss, grain-free, and reduced-fat options at pet stores or vet clinics. But beware of questionable ingredients used as fillers, which often lack nutrients.

Filler Ingredients to Watch Out For:

  1. Powdered Cellulose: Essentially sawdust, it has no nutritional value but dilutes calories and makes dogs feel full. The downside? More poop.

  2. Beet Pulp: A high-fiber by-product of the sugar beet industry. While it's often touted as an inexpensive filler with health benefits, it's stripped of its vitamins and minerals.

  3. Brewers Rice: These are small grain fragments left after milling rice. They lack nutritional value and are used to bulk up your dog's meal.

  4. Chicken By-Product Meal: Known as slaughterhouse waste, it includes everything but the meat - feathers, fat, feet, and beaks.

  5. Soy Flour, Soy Grits, Soybean Mill Run: Soy boosts protein content without adding meat but can be allergenic. Most soy is also genetically modified and harvested with toxic glyphosate.

Be wary of grain-free foods that contain legumes, which are as starchy as grains and not ideal for your overweight dog. Also, beware of ingredient splitting on labels, where the same ingredient is divided into sub-varieties, often making it the heaviest component in the food.

Decoding Dog Food Labels

Here's a sample of top ingredients from some labels:

  1. Weight Glucose Management: Water, pork liver, whole grain corn, chicken, cracked pearled barley, powdered cellulose, chicken liver flavor...

  2. Weight Reduction: Whole grain corn, corn gluten meal, chicken by-product meal, powdered cellulose, soybean meal, soybean mill run, chicken liver flavor, dried beet pulp, pork liver flavor...

  3. Grain-free, Reduced Fat: Chicken meal, field peas, lentils, potato, tapioca...

Except for pork liver, deboned cod, and chicken, these ingredients offer limited nutritional value. And your dog doesn't need the stripped-down grains, fillers, and carbs.

Carbs and Your Overweight Dog

Processed diets are high in carbs and unhealthy fats but low in protein, leading to weight gain. Dogs in the wild typically eat a diet that's about 7% carbohydrate, sourced from wild berries or their prey's stomach contents. In contrast, today's processed food often contains up to 60% carbohydrates.

Is Your Dog Packing Extra Pounds?

Determining if your dog is overweight is quite straightforward. One simple method is to run your hands over their ribcage. Imagine your knuckles as your dog's ribs - you should be able to feel the contours of their ribs without fat obstructing your touch. From a bird's eye view, your dog should exhibit a well-defined waist, and from the side, a clear distinction between their chest and stomach regions should be visible. Check your dog's body condition score today - read my blog for guidance.

Revamping Your Dog's Diet: A Game-Changer for Weight Loss

Let's dive into the best dietary strategies to help your dog slim down.

Raw Diet: The Premier Choice

A comprehensive, raw meat diet is the optimal choice for your dog's health. Quality raw diets are available pre-made and frozen, with most being complete and balanced, containing fruits and vegetables. Superior options are devoid of synthetic vitamins and minerals, with all nutrients derived from the ingredients themselves.

You can also whip up your dog's meals using raw food recipes. Follow these handy tips for a truly balanced, raw diet:

  • Opt for lean meats such as turkey, chicken, and beef

  • Balance the raw diet with muscle meat, organs, bones, fruits, vegetables, eggs, and fish to prevent nutrient deficiencies

  • Create healthy treats using fruits, vegetables, or small meat pieces from your dog’s meals - think frozen broccoli, green beans, or carrots

  • Use raw meaty bones as treats or occasional meal replacements to keep your dog engaged and satiated

  • Balance out omega-6 fats with omega-3 fatty acids

  • Include probiotics to support gut health and boost immunity. We highly recommend MicroMed or Barks & Whiskers soil-based probiotics, both of which are available for purchase here.

The Key: Low Starch

Regardless of whether you choose a raw or home-cooked diet, be sure to eliminate starchy foods. Dogs don't require starch to thrive. A diet rich in protein and fat, complemented by low-carb fruits and vegetables, sufficiently covers your dog's energy needs.

Freeze-Dried Raw Diet: The Convenient Alternative

Freeze-dried raw diets offer your dog the same benefits as pre-made raw diets, with added convenience. The manufacturing process involves removing moisture from the food, which extends shelf life and simplifies storage and serving.

Practical Steps to Help Your Overweight Dog Lose Weight

Aside from a nutritional overhaul, here are additional strategies to help your overweight dog shed those extra pounds:

Control Portion Sizes: When feeding whole food, raw, or home-cooked diets, aim for 2-3% of your dog's ideal body weight. Adjust serving sizes based on your dog's activity level and weight trends.

Monitor Meal Frequencies and Sizes: Some dogs may benefit from one meal per day, while others might require 2-3 smaller feedings. Test different feeding schedules and remember not to overfill their bowls.

Avoid Free Feeding: This practice makes it challenging to track your dog's daily food intake, making it unsuitable for overweight dogs.

Prioritise Nutritional Value: Opt for protein and veggies, instead of simple carbs, and only healthy fats.

Incorporate Healthy Fiber: Fiber promotes a feeling of fullness without added calories.

Increase Physical Activity: Daily exercise is essential for your dog's mental and physical health.

Monitor Treat Intake: While treats are fantastic for training purposes, it's crucial to track your dog's intake, especially if they're overweight.

The Perils of Canine Obesity

Canine obesity poses severe health risks, including orthopaedic diseases, ligament ruptures, tracheal collapse, arthritis, diabetes, urinary issues, heart disease, joint issues, pancreatitis, lung diseases, skin problems, and even cancer.

What Makes Dogs Overweight?

Several factors contribute to weight gain in dogs, such as ageing, breed predisposition, neutering or spaying, lack of exercise, and, most importantly, overfeeding. As the owner, you control your dog's food intake. It's crucial to manage their diet to prevent weight gain. A dog can be joyful and healthy with a minimal-carb, starch-free diet rich in fresh whole foods. Reward your dog with love, attention, and exercise, not just food.


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