Dog sat in dunes with the sea in the background

How to get my dog to lose weight?

Do you feel like your dog is on the chubby side? And do they seem to enjoy a rather sedentary lifestyle? If so, now it’s time for them to get back on their paws and find the active nature they had as a puppy!

You might think that an overweight dog is cute and their laziness is just a loveable character trait. But dogs are not made for a lifetime spent on the sofa, they’re animals that need a good daily level of exercise to stay fit and healthy.

If you’re not sure whether your dog is just very furry or actually overweight, look out for these things especially:

1. Does your dog seem out of breath after only a short sprint or zoom?

Dogs should be able to follow their instincts when it comes to chasing a squirrel up a tree or trying to catch a butterfly on the morning walk. If their shortness of breath keeps them from doing so, you might want to consider a change in exercise routine for your dog.

2. Can your dog do their natural cleaning routine without any problems?

A dog should have no problem reaching even the most remote body parts when cleaning themselves. If you see them struggle, the reason might be a few extra pounds keeping them from easily grooming themselves.

3. Can you feel your pooch’s ribs?

It’s not a sign of malnourishment if you can feel your dog’s ribs. On the contrary, a gentle pat on the side should indeed allow you to feel them. If your dog’s fur is too thick to tell the difference, try checking them at bath time or after a swim when their fur is a bit flatter.

4. Does your dog have a chest and a waist?

This one might sound a bit strange, but it’s actually a pretty useful trick to see if your dog is overweight. When you look at them from the side, you should easily be able to tell a difference in size of their chest and their waist. See the PDSA‘s infographic below for example images. If your dog is rather sausage shaped, a change in activity might be required.

Of course, depending on their age and breed, every dog has different exercise requirements.

If you want to find out your dog’s personalised daily exercise goal, download our free PitPat app from the App Store and try it out. All you need to do is to fill in a few things like your pooch’s birthday, breed and current weight and our algorithm will do the rest! You’ll get a recommended number of minutes of activity that your specific dog needs to stay fit or to reach a healthy weight.

Join the Pack and get your pup a PitPat dog activity monitor to keep track of how much exercise they get. It attaches easily to any collar and monitors what your dog has been up to during the day including a calorie count. Keep up your goal streak to make sure your dog is on the right track to getting back into shape!

PDSA‘s body condition score: