As feeding dogs kibble has come more prevalent, the number of overweight dogs has increased. Now, more than half of dogs in the U.S. are overweight. Although correlation doesn’t equal causation, the likelihood in this case is that the two are related. Kibble is often half or more grains, has artificial flavors and additives, and is full of carbohydrates. This will provide y9our dog with calories, but not the nutrients they need. As a result, these calories will turn into fat rather than feeding the body with what it needs.
On top of this issue, many dog owners fail to acknowledge that their dog is overweight or see it as a serious health problem. An overweight dog can easily become obese as well as a list of other health issues. With this guide, we hope to help you help your dog lose the weight they need to reach optimal health!
Why You Need to Be Concerned
Obesity in dogs is just as dangerous as obesity in humans. Overweight and obese dogs suffer from a large number of health conditions, including:
- Orthopedic disease
- Ligament rupture
- Urinary disorders
- Heart disease
- Joint problems
- Cardiorespiratory diseases
- Certain types cancers
- Skin problems
All of these conditions reduce the lifespan of your dog and decrease her quality of life.
How a Raw Diet Can Help
A raw diet is biologically appropriate for your dog. It provides your dog with the type of food her body is adapted for. It is free from chemical additives and a high amount of carbohydrates. Unlike “light” kibble, it is designed to help your dog achieve, and remain at, their ideal weight without cutting vital nutrients from their diet. In fact, dogs on a raw diet receive more proteins, vitamins, and minerals than those eating kibble.
Whereas a raw diet is the best option for overweight dogs (and for all other dogs, for that matter), it won’t work miracles. You’ll need to feed your dog the right amount for her size and activity level. Plus, you’ll need to pick the right raw diet — good-quality raw food contains all the nutrients your dog needs and is low in calories.
1. Feed the Right Amount
Overweight dogs only need about 2 percent of their body weight a day. Once they start losing weight, you can increase to 2.5 percent. To maintain your dog’s current weight, feed her around 3 percent. Bear in mind that these are just guidelines. If your dog is particularly obese or if you notice that the diet is failing to have effects, you may need to feed them slightly less. On the flip side, if your dog continues to lose weight once they have reached their ideal, you should feed a little more than 3 percent. Remember, adjust as needed till your dog is at a healthy weight.
2. Weigh Everything
Never just assume that you are giving your dog the correct amount of food. It takes just a few seconds to weigh their food and will significantly increase accuracy.
3. Stick to Lean Meats
When your dog has reached their optimal weight, you can start giving a more diverse raw diet. At the moment, though, you need to stick to lean meats such as chicken and turkey.
4. Raw Is More Than Meat
Some dog owners think that a raw diet is just about giving their dogs uncooked meat. This could not be further from the truth. Although your dog does not need to consume grains, they do need vegetables and other ingredients with diverse nutritional values. If your dog is just eating muscle meat and organs, they are going to remain overweight as well as resulting in lacking some essential nutrients. Take a look at some of the highest-quality off-the-shelf raw food products. You’ll see that the meat content is around 50 to 75 percent. These foods also contain ingredients like vegetables, seafood, eggs, and bone.
5. Add Coconut Oil or Fish Oil
Both coconut oil and fish oil can help promote weight loss. This is because they improve your dog’s metabolic rate, increase energy levels, and regulate thyroid function. Either choose a raw food product that already contains coconut or fish oil or add the oil yourself. Just never use both in the same meal, as too much oil can cause loose stools.
6. Cut Out Extras
All the effort you are putting into creating the perfect raw diet for your dog will be ruined if you give them extras between meals. Yes, they may beg when they see you preparing food for yourself, but stay firm. They will soon realize that their efforts are futile. If you want to give your dog treats, include them in your calculations along with the food they will receive in meals. Furthermore, stick to healthy treats that form part of their raw diet, such as fruits and vegetables.
7. Give Raw Bones
An excellent way to eliminate the need for treats is to give your dog raw bones. They will be able to gnaw at the same bone for hours, satisfying their need for food without gaining many extra calories. Great options for raw bones are beef marrow, knuckle bones, and lamb femurs. None of these bones splinter, nor do chunks break off that your dog could swallow. They are also all much better and healthier choices than commercial chews.
In addition to finding the right raw diet for your dog, you must make sure that they are receiving enough exercise. Your dog’s natural energy levels will determine exactly how much is appropriate, but all dogs need exercise every day. Only when you combine the correct diet with the right amount of exercise do you achieve optimal health for your dog!