The obesity epidemic in America doesn’t just affect humans; it’s extended to our canine companions as well! A 2015 study showed that 52.7 percent of dogs in the U.S. were obese.

And unfortunately, it’s been tied to a wide variety of health problems in dogs, from pancreatitis and diabetes to heart disease and hip dysplasia. Shedding those extra pounds can go a long way toward helping your pup lead a healthier, happier, and longer life.

But many Pack Leaders still struggle with determining how to get a dog to lose weight. What’s the best routine? What changes needs to be made? Here are a few tips that can help.

This should always be your first step. Find out just how much weight your dog needs to lose as well as any special precautions you should take to protect his health as you start your new routine. Your dog’s breed, medical history, and current state are all important factors to consider.

It’s the best way to determine how to put your dog on a diet. Don’t guess. Don’t eyeball it. Give your dog exactly the amount of food she needs every day. Read the instructions on your dog’s food to find out the recommended amount, and stick to it.

Not only does this help ensure you’re feeding him just enough, it will tell your dog when food is coming and may decrease his obsession with it between meals. But remember, your dog should always have access to fresh, clean water — no matter the time of day or night.

Many dogs get a large portion of their daily calories from treats throughout the day or by sneaking table scraps. If you still want to use treats as motivation for training, check the nutrition and look for small, low-calorie snacks.

Another common source of unneeded calories: stealing others’ food. It could be grabbing human food when your back is turned, or taking food from other animals (canine or otherwise) in the home. You can help prevent these problems by putting your dog in a crate during other family members’ meal times.

Bonus: this tip can help both of you to lose some weight! Set aside at least 40 minutes each day for the walk. If you’re just starting out the routine, you may want to consult with your veterinarian to see if you should start with a shorter time, such as 10 or 15 minutes, and then work up to a longer walk.

  1. Talk to your veterinarian
  2. Measure your dog’s food
  3. Set meal times
  4. Cut out the snacks
  5. Stop the thieving
  6. Stick to a walking schedule

What changes do you plan to make (or have you made) for your dog’s daily routine to help her get into shape? Let us know in the comments!

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