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Weight Maintenance for Dogs

About one in three dogs are either overweight or obese. Dog obesity has become a serious and widespread issue because of the health conditions it can lead to—respiratory problems, diabetes, arthritis and heart disease to name a few. Find out how proper nutrition can make a positive impact on your pet's weight management.

How the Right Food Can Promote Weight Loss

Just a pound or two can make a difference in your pet's health, and nutrition is equally important as exercise in making that difference.

Start your dog on a complete weight reduction program that includes check-ups with the veterinarian and regular exercise. A PetSmart associate can help you find a high-quality food with less calories and fat.

Premium pet foods with restricted calories will have the proper amounts of:

  • Protein
  • Fatty acids
  • Vitamins & minerals
  • Fiber to feel fuller longer

Together, these nutrients help prevent deficiencies and keep your dog healthy while he is losing weight.

Pumpkin, cranberries, salmon, fish, chicken, and spinach
Dog food in various portion containers

What You Need to Know About Portion Sizes

Cutting the portion sizes of your dog's current food rarely results in successful weight loss. Their current food may not only contain more calories and fat, but also cutting the portions can cause your pet to feel hungry more often.

Reducing portions will also lead to a loss of essential vitamins and minerals. Unlike regular dog food, weight control foods have been balanced to provide adequate vitamins and minerals, while allowing for weight loss through calorie reduction.

Different Types of Weight Maintenance Dog Food

Not all weight maintenance formulas are created equally—each food may be uniquely formulated for the specific weight needs of dogs.

Reduced calorie and reduced fat foods are recommended for weight loss while light and lean foods are usually recommended for weight management or if your dog has a tendency to gain weight but is not yet overweight.

AAFC REGULATED WEIGHT MAINTENANCE LABELS
"LIGHT" (ALSO "LITE") "LEAN" "LESS CALORIES" OR
"REDUCED CALORIES"
"LESS FAT" OR
"REDUCED FAT"
Dry foods: 3,100 kcal per kg food
Wet foods: 900 kcal per kg food
Dry foods: No more than 9% fat
Wet foods: No more than 4% fat
The label must include the percentage of reduction and the product of comparison along with other information Labels must include the percentage of reduction, product of comparison and maximum crude fat guarantee after the minimum crude fat guarantee in the Guaranteed Analysis
Dog walking down sidewalk

More Ways to Address Your Dog's Weight Needs

While feeding the right food and reducing treats is essential to weight loss success, portion control and exercise are key.

Consult your vet to help you develop a comprehensive weight loss plan that includes:

  • Determining the amount of weight your pet needs to lose
  • Setting an amount for daily caloric intake
  • Selecting specific amount of exercise
  • Scheduling follow-up appointments to monitor progress and adjust calories, exercise as needed to reach the ideal weight
  • Avoiding high-calorie treats