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How to Control Weight Gain in Dogs

How to Control Weight Gain in Dogs

Is your bulldog a butterball? Do you have a chunky corgi? Maybe the cold winter months kept you and your canine friend indoors, and now your pup is packing on the pounds. Here’s how to get your dog back to a healthy weight, so they can be active and playful for many years to come. Hint: It’s probably exactly what you do to stay healthy too!

Portion control

Ever just reach into a bag of chips and the next thing you know, you’re at the bottom? The same thing can happen with dogs who have free-standing food sitting out all day. At the slightest hint of boredom, they’ll be there, munching away. Here are a few ways to prevent overeating:

  • Set a feeding schedule — It’s best not to free-feed your pet. Set feeding times help you set up a routine and help control exactly how much your pets are eating.
  • Not sure how much to feed your dog? Use our feeding calculator to find out exactly how many calories they need. Then give them that amount each day as a starting point. Keep in mind that every animal is different, and our feeding calculator is an estimate. The nutritional needs of your pet may vary so adjust accordingly to your pet’s needs.
  • Use treats sparingly when looking to lose weight — don’t always give into those puppy dog eyes. Instead of a food treat, play ball or go for a walk around the block instead. Time with you is your dog’s favorite treat, after all! If you do give food treats, be sure to account for those calories in their daily intake.


It’s not enough to put your dog outside for a few hours a day — be sure to be active with them to encourage their weight loss. Overweight dogs may get tired quickly, but like any fitness routine, they’ll get used to it if you stick with it. Read on for some steps for increasing and encouraging activity in your dog:

  • Each time you go for a walk, extend your session by an extra block or two.
  • Break up sessions a couple of times throughout the day to help build endurance — go for a quick walk in the morning and at night. As both of your fitness levels build, you’ll find you can go further and longer.
  • Make sure your dog gets plenty of water to prevent dehydration during exercise.
  • Change up activities. If you go for a walk around the neighborhood park most days, switch it up! A hike, going to the dog park, or visiting the lake can all be stimulating for dogs, helping them find new ways to exercise and play in exciting new places.

Be patient

Weight loss takes time! Do whatever you can to stay motivated. Regularly measure and weigh your dog to ensure the diet is working. Take before and after pictures. See how much faster you and your dog can complete your loop. These fun little challenges can help you and your dog stay on track with their weight loss.

Check with your vet

Still have questions? Vets can help dogs stay healthy, and let you know what you need to watch out for. It’s always best to consult your vet about a weight loss plan for your dog.