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How to help an overweight dog lose weight

An overweight dog may seem like a mild ailment at a first, but if left unchecked, unhealthy weight gain can lead to much more serious health problems like arthritis, heart disease, breathing difficulties, diabetes, and bladder cancer.

If you’re concerned that your canine companion is becoming an obese dog, don’t wait for the problem to correct itself. Take them to the veterinarian to get advice on how to help a dog lose weight.

Before that, it helps to understand what’s causing your companion to pack on the pounds.

Common causes of weight gain in dogs

There are many easily identifiable causes of weight gain in dogs, including, but not limited to:

Dogs with unlimited access to food have a higher risk of becoming overweight, leading to the creation of fat cells that stay with your pooch for life.

Feeding table scraps and human foods to your dog can lead to obesity.

Dog treats should only make up 10% of their overall diet, not used as a substitute for a healthy meal.

Pets that are unable (or uninterested) in exercising have a higher chance of becoming overweight.

Older dogs with stiff muscles and joints are less active and prone to gaining weight.

Spayed or neutered dogs have a higher risk of gaining weight if they continue to consume high energy meals when their need for energy is lower.

Keys to tackling your dog's weight loss

Provide a balanced diet

Along with exercise, a reduced fat/calorie diet can help your dog stay fit for longer. Fiber also plays an important role in proper nutrition, since it reduces the caloric density of the food, while still providing sustenance to keep your dog full.

If your dog has a history of putting on pounds, weight fluctuation can become more common. To keep their weight steady, encourage a balanced diet, establish an exercise routine and take them in for regular check-ups. 

Petco's picks for nutrition to help you manage your dog's weight

Engage them in exercise

Providing a way for your puppy or dog to get consistent exercise is key, both to stimulate their mind as well as maintain a healthy weight. By establishing a dog exercise routine, your dog will come to welcome the extra structure and play that comes with an exercise session.

Keep in mind that puppies can tire easily. Even if your puppy doesn't seem tired, it's important to have a stopping point. Dog exercise sessions should be short; around once or twice a day for 15 to 30 minutes is ideal. Also, when training for exercise, repetition and patience are key; give your pup plenty of time and chances to learn specific actions.

If you’re concerned about your dog’s weight, be sure to first check with your veterinarian for recommended next steps and then head to Petco to pick up the right nutrition and dog exercise products for your pup.

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