I have an 8 yr old overweight dog. He is a min pin and weighs about 15 lbs.. I’ve tried diet foods and prescription dog food. I feed him 1/2 cup twice a day ( 1cup ) daily. Rarely does he get treats or people food. So I am wondering what can we do for him? He sleeps alot!!! He goes for walks and they are sometimes short due to his weight. He has to be helped cause I’m afraid of losing him. He has been fixed. Could it be his thyroid? Thank you, Lisa Hall for Dakota Hall
Thank you for your question Lisa! I hope the article below answers all of your questions.
– Dr. Smith
Because every dog is individually and genetically different, it is impossible for me or anybody else to tell you exactly how much to feed your dog.
The first thing you must do is understand calories. “Calories” is a measurement of the energy in the food. For example, let’s say the food you are feeding (I am assuming you are feeding a dry kibble food) is 300 calories per cup. 300 calories per cup is a good, average, mathematically easy estimate of a lite dry dog food.
The second thing you must know is an approximation of how many calories your dog requires to maintain his bodyweight. This is an approximation and you will get a variety of opinions on this topic. My opinion is that a small breed older neutered overweight dog should consume roughly 20cal per pound per 24 hour period to maintain weight. So for your 15 lbs. dog, he would need to consume roughly 300 calories per day to maintain the current weight or 1 cup daily.
Calories for Overweight Dog
For a dog to lose weight, you must reduce calories ingested. In this case, my recommendation is to cut the calories by 15-20%. This means you feed slightly less than one cup daily. If calories are reduced more than 15-20%, then the body will go into starvation mode and you will get nowhere.
Older dogs can have a variety of issues that make losing weight difficult. The most common issue is hypothyroidism. Dogs will not lose weight if the thyroid is deficient. This must be checked by a blood test and treated accordingly.
Also, arthritis or really an orthopedic disease will hinder weight lose. Dogs in pain do not exercise much. Lack of exercise leads to decreased muscle mass and less caloric expenditure making weight loss even more of an uphill battle. Orthopedic pain must be controlled to exacerbate weight loss.
The key is less calories, more exercise and control of other medical problems.
You have a couple of options. Prescription diets with calorie counts around 300 cal/cup is one option. Another option is a boutique grain free higher protein diet. Per gram, protein contains less calories than soluble carbohydrates or grain based pet foods. Most dogs will lose fat on a higher protein diet.
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