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Weight loss strategy for dog

1430 Views 13 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  DaySleepers
I've developed some bad habits with my dog that have resulted in her gaining a lot of weight. I was really surprised how much weight she has packed on but I should have realized it was happening. I would like to get the excess weight off of her as quickly as possible but without stressing her out. She has a deformed hind leg from a break that healed on it's own (no I was not in the picture at that point) and I'd like to take pressure off of those joints. She also has a recessed vulva that is getting infected because of the extra weight.

I used to play frisbee with her as a younger dog and stopped because her reactivity was so extreme. I thought that the intense exercise was amplifying her reactivity. I put her on a vacation that has lasted a few years now. She's been on Prozac for a couple of years and I guess that is probably part of the problem as well. I don't think she can manage without the drug however.

She has become accustomed to laying next to me while I eat dinner and I always throw her little morsels of food. Should I taper away from this behavior slowly or feed her something low in calories that will prevent her from getting frustrated. These bad habits started off well intentioned in rewarding a place and relaxed position but have slid into thoughtless patterns.

Even walking is a challenge because triggers will quickly stack and before you know it, her tail is tucked and she can barely respond to me. I'm thinking some activity in the backyard combined with a feeding strategy would work. I'm open to any suggestions. Does anyone have experience in taking weight off of a dog?

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With her bad leg, I'd be cautious about high-impact exercises, as those can be hard on even healthy joints. These include things like running/biking with the dog on a hard surface like asphalt, anything involving repeated jumping (like catching a frisbee in the air or agility hurdles), and having the dog go up and down stairs excessively. These might be okay with her, but you'll want to clear it with her vet, veterinary chiropractor, or canine rehab specialist who can evaluate her current condition and determine what's safe for her leg.

Generally speaking, low-impact exercise like wading and swimming is excellent for weight loss! You could also try taking part of her daily meal allowance and hiding it around the yard, so she has to move and sniff for it to eat. This does triple duty, because it's gentle activity, but it also engages her brain and promotes sniffing, which is a naturally calming behavior in dogs. Slow and steady is definitely the way to go - just like with humans, fast weight loss can be dangerous.

Definitely follow up on checking her thyroid, especially if you don't see changes in her weight even with a change in diet and lifestyle. I totally understand it being difficult with her being so stressed at the vet's, but as Shell said, reasonable diet and exercise adjustments shouldn't be harmful in the meantime if you can't get her in right away.
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Two year old thread, so I'm closing it to further replies. Feel free to start a new thread, or join any of our current discussions.
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