How to Help Your Dog Lose Weight: A Pet Parent Guide

How to Help Your Dog Lose Weight: A Pet Parent Guide

Alpha Paw Sale

Jan 17, 2024

Dog Weight Problems

How do you help your dog lose weight? It’s very simple. Portion control. Many dogs tend to gain weight as they start to get older. Understanding what your pooch needs at each stage of their life goes a very long way in determining the portion size to feed your dog as well as the vitamins and nutrients needed.

It’s worth all the effort. Weight gain causes many health issues in your dog. Not only will it lead to joint issues but can also shorten your dog’s life. The main causes for weight gain include:


Most people give their dogs too much food each day. There are daily suggestions for amounts on the back of your bag of dog food. If you are going to offer your dog any treats during the day, it is best to also decrease the amount of food that they are eating.

If your dog is still gaining weight, it is best to decrease the amount that you are feeding them by 25% and increase the amount of exercise that they are doing.

How to help your dog lose weight

Cushing Disease

Cushing disease is an overproduction of steroid hormones in your dog’s body. When your dog takes steroids they will want to eat more and drink more. This will cause them to gain weight. They also will become very bloated, have hair loss, and seem very hot.

If your think that your dog does have Cushing’s disease, it would be best for them to see your vet. They can run bloodwork and test your dog for Cushing’s disease. Cushing’s disease can easily be managed with daily medications.


If your dog’s thyroid is not producing enough thyroid hormone, they can gain weight. Other signs of low thyroid disease are:

  • Weight gain
  • Hot
  • Lethargic
  • Droopy face

Your vet can easily run a blood test to determine if your dog does have low thyroid levels. This disease is easily managed with daily medication.


Just like with people certain dogs are just genetically predisposed to being overweight. If your dog is a breed that is commonly overweight, it is best to watch their food intake and try to keep them at their ideal body condition.

Top Picks for Maintaining Your Dog’s Digestive Wellness

Optimize your dog’s digestive wellness with our carefully selected top picks, designed to promote a healthy and balanced digestive system. From probiotics fostering beneficial gut bacteria to digestive enzymes aiding in nutrient absorption, these products offer a comprehensive approach to supporting your dog’s digestive health.

Zesty paws probiotic for dogs - probiotics for gut flora, digestive health, occasional diarrhea & bo
Zesty paws probiotic for dogs - probiotics for gut flora, digestive health, occasional diarrhea & bo
Zesty paws probiotic for dogs - probiotics for gut flora, digestive health, occasional diarrhea & bo
Our Score
  • These functional soft chew supplements feature a base of pumpkin and papaya—two sources of enzymes—plus probiotics for digestion, bowel and immune support.
  • Contains DE111, a bacillus subtilis that supports digestive function and a strong immune system.
  • These chewables contain six probiotics—DE111, Lactobacillus acidophilus, L. plantarum, L. brevis, L. fermentum and L. lactis—to promote proper gut flora and function.
  • May provide relief from occasional gastric distress, including constipation, indigestion, gas and bloating.
  • Paw-fect for small, medium and large breed dogs.
Royal canin small digestive care dry dog food, 3. 5 lb bag
  • Dry dog food specially formulated for small dogs 10 months and older weighing up to 22 lb with a sensitive stomach.
  • Promotes healthy digestion with optimal blend of highly digestible proteins, prebiotics, and dietary fibers.
  • Aids digestion and supports a balanced intestinal flora that also promotes optimal stool quality.
  • Supports digestive health with highly digestible proteins.
  • Perfect complement to Royal Canin Wet Dog Food formulas.
Purina pro plan veterinary supplements fortiflora dog probiotic supplement, canine nutritional suppl
  • This veterinarian-recommended dog probiotic helps support digestive health and manage the symptoms of diarrhea.
  • Recommended for the dietary management of puppies and adult dogs with diarrhea.


Be prepared the next time your dog has an upset stomach by keeping Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Supplements FortiFlora Dog Probiotic Supplement close at hand. Designed to manage the symptoms of dog diarrhea, this digestive care dog food powder supplement contains special probiotics for dogs, plus healthy antioxidants for added immune support. FortiFlora dog digestive health supplements supply dogs with a guaranteed level of live microorganisms to benefit beneficial intestinal microflora and help quell a variety of digestive issues. A proprietary microencapsulation process helps enhance the stability of the probiotics in each sachet, aiding their survival until they can reach your dog’s intestinal tract. This formula is appropriate for use in both puppies and adult dogs, and it can also be helpful for treating excessive gas. Don’t let your best friend suffer tummy upsets any longer than he has to—let this vet-recommended supplement swoop in and save the day!

Native pet vet created probiotic powder for dogs digestive issues - dog probiotic powder + prebiotic
  • Sprinkle on dry kibble as a food topper mix with water for a broth, paw-feet alternative to probiotic chews.
  • Created by vet nutritionists to provide maximum digestive health.
  • Promotes skin health, and effectively controls yeast overgrowth, so your best pal stays comfortable and itch-free.
  • Made with all-natural ingredients for a powerful probiotic and prebiotic digestive supplement.
  • Supports overall gut health, is used as a preventive probiotic for diarrhea, serves every day.
Naturvet – digestive enzymes - plus probiotics & prebiotics – helps support diet change & a heal
  • Formulated to support and balance the digestive tract.
  • Great for dogs with sensitive stomachs and digestive issues caused by stress, antibiotics, a weakened immune system or dietary issues.
  • Features a special blend of probiotics, including veterinary-strength PB6, which helps support good bacteria in the gut and promotes a balanced and healthy GI tract and normal stool quality.
  • PB6 technology enables beneficial bacteria to travel through the complete GI tract for optimal stomach and intestinal balance.
  • Bite-size chew that you can feed like a treat.

Is There A Dog Weight Loss Program?

While there is no medication that you can give to your dog to make them lose weight you can start a weight loss program for your dog at home. This would be just like people do when they try to lose weight. A few tips that you can try to help your dog lose weight are:

Decrease Their food Intake

There are weight loss diets and low-fat diets that are designed to help your dog feel full without any extra calories. These usually have higher fiber levels than normal diets.

How to help your dog lose weight

Increase Their Exercise

Exercising will help your dog lose weight. You will need to take your dog on a walk each day. If your dog is not currently walking every day start with just 10 minutes and gradually increase both the speed and distance of your walk until you are going for a walk for about 1 hour each day.

Stop All Treats

Dog treats contain added calories. If you are trying to get your dog to lose weight it is best to not give them any treats during this time. If you do need to use treats for training purposes, look for low-fat treats.

NO Human Food

Human food is very high in fats and calories. Just a small bite of human food can cause your dog to start gaining weight. It is best to stop giving your dog people food to help them lose weight.

How to help your dog lose weight: a pet parent guide

Talk With Your Vet

If your dog continues to gain weight, despite your efforts, it is best to talk with your vet. There are medical issues that could cause your dog to continue to gain weight. Your vet may want to run bloodwork, take x rays, check a fecal sample, or perform an ultrasound to see what is causing your dog to continue to gain weight despite following these few tips.
How to help your dog lose weight

How To Prevent My Dog from Gaining Weight

If you want to avoid the struggle of trying to help your dog lose weight, prevention is key. It is best to feed your dog a high-quality diet and an amount that is appropriate for their weight.

You can calculate the calories that are needed for your dog so that you are feeding your dog the correct amount. A dog needs about 25 calories per pound of body weight. You can usually find the number of calories per cup on the back of your bag of dog food.

Also giving your dog plenty of exercises will help keep them fit. You should take your dog on a walk each day. If the weather is not allowing you to go for a walk at least play with them inside your house and make them exercise. Great indoor games are hid and seek or tug-o-war.

How to help your dog lose weight

Final Thoughts

Like humans, overweight dogs (and cats) have an increased risk for certain health issues such as joint issues, heart disease, and diabetes. If you keep your dog at a healthy weight, they will live a longer, healthier, and happier life.

Remember, a simple method is portion control. Do not leave food out, give them measured portions, at certain times of the day. Water can be left out in large bowls. Similar to humans, dogs (and cats) can go without solid food for several days but need water to survive every day.

Most importantly, you should always strive to keep your dog fit and lean. You should be able to see a nice tucked abdomen and be able to feel their ribs without seeing them. If you are having trouble with your dog losing weight it is always best to see your vet.

There may be a medical issue that is going on with your dog that your vet can quickly diagnose and start your dog on medication to help them lose weight and feel much better.

Alpha Paw Sale
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Dr. Sara Ochoa, DVM

Member of Alpha Paw’s Board of Pet Experts

Dr. Sara Ochoa, DVM is a board-certified, licensed, and USDA-accredited small animal and exotic animal veterinarian. Dr. Sara graduated from St. George's University in 2015 with a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine. Following veterinary school, she joined the team of pet experts at a small animal and exotic veterinary clinic in east Texas, where she treats all species that walk in the hospital. Dr. Sara’s professional interests include surgery and exotic animal medicine. She enjoys developing positive relationships with her clients, sharing her passion for animals, and helping pet parents provide excellent care for their fur babies. She is passionate about helping our four-legged family members return to a happy and healthy life - making her a perfect fit for Alpha Paw’s Board of Pet Experts!


The medical, nutritional, or behavioral advice we provide is intended for informational and educational purposes only. Our editorial content is not a substitute for formal or personalized medical advice from a veterinary professional. Only board-certified veterinary specialists who have examined your pet should diagnose medical conditions, provide personalized treatment, or prescribe appropriate medication. For questions regarding your pet’s health, or if your pet is exhibiting signs of illness, injury, or distress, contact your veterinarian immediately. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on our site.