If your dog is overweight or obese, and it seems to have happened suddenly, the first step is to identify if there may be any underlying medical reasons causing your dog to gain weight. Conditions such as hypothyroidism, Cushing’s disease, and some medications can contribute to weight gain. Cushing’s and hypothyroidism require treatment, so it is best to rule those out if your dog seems to have other symptoms.
Most dogs are not suffering from underlying conditions. If your dog is obese, overweight, or to you want to prevent obesity, make sure you keep your dog active. This doesn’t have to mean going on a run. You can easily increase your dog’s activity simply by playing catch in the backyard. Other ideas for keeping your dog active include:
- Walking. It seems obvious, but people underestimate how effective it can be to add a long walk to your dog’s routine to help with weight loss.
- Swimming. If your dog is comfortable in the water and you have access, consider taking your dog for a swim in shallow water or a walk along the water’s edge. This is an easy activity for a dog that may have joint problems.
- Hiking. Taking your dog out along nature trails provides a little extra resistance in the form of different terrain. Being in nature could be just the change of pace both of you need to encourage you to stay active.
- Play with your dog – catch, fetch, tug of war. Any activity that gets your dog moving will help.