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  • Jennifer Misfeldt, MABTR

Is my dog overweight or underweight

It starts with the owner identifying if their dog has gained or loss weight over time. Keeping track of your dog's weight is important. This is one reason to make a trip at least once a year to your vet clinic.

My dog is over weight?

Obesity is an extremely common problem in pets and, as with humans, is detrimental to the health of a dog. Obesity shortens a dog’s life and makes them more likely to develop disease

Increased risk for dogs overweight:

· cancers of all types

· diabetes

· heart disease

· high blood pressure

· arthritis earlier in life

· bladder stones

Identify the reason for the extra weight

We cannot assume that your dog is overweight due to overfeeding. Diseases can cause weight gain and it is important to eliminate medical cause before moving onto a change in life style. Obesity may be an indicator of diseases such as hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid gland) or Cushing’s disease (overactive adrenal glands). Only your vet can test and diagnosis these diseases.

Obesity due to current diet

The very first step in dealing with an overweight dog is to recognize and acknowledge that there is a problem. Then you move onto to a life style change that will include exercise and a weight management diet that you as the pet owner need to follow. The goal is to reduce calorie intake correctly and increase your dog's physical activity.

Adjusting Meal Time

It is not appropriate to simply reduce the volume of food you feed your dog. This will cause malnourishment over time and organ damage.

It is important to feed a nutritional product that is lower in calories, yet maintains an appropriate nutrient balance. Most dog brands now carry a line of weight management food. We recommend dry kibble over canned food. Also important is providing the right portion of food two to three times a day. One meal a day puts the body in starvation mood.

Humans find themselves displaying love to their dog by giving them extra food, treats, and human food (higher in calories and fat than pet food) which is actually shortening their lives with us. Not all human foods are bad for dogs but you need to know what is healthy and what is not. The healthy foods make great snacks for in between meals or replacement for treats that will keep your dog’s stomach feeling content. Think healthy treats such as fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables. Also look for Low Sugar products. Scroll to the end of this page for healthy snack.


Many pet owners hope a run in the yard however this this is not enough exercise to keep him healthy. Dogs require our participation and interaction. Some dogs love to swim, others prefer to fetch, and some breeds do best with a physical job. For many dogs, however, a simple daily walk is all that is required for them to stay at their ideal body weight.

Two reasons dogs are underweight

1. owners not feeding the correct amount and the frequency of meals

2. medical reasons

There are many medical reasons that result is weight loss. Medical should always be on the top of the list and weed out by your vet. It could be as simple as a fecal for parasites/worms or as major as cancer.

I will address number one above: One thing to note about bostons is they have a high metabolism and they are an active breed. So many owners feed their dog’s the amount of food stated on the back of the food bag. Remember this is a general assessment for all breeds, not breed specific.

You have to take certain factors into account when determining how much your boston should be fed. It is important that your dog feels content and not just looking for the next meal.

-If you have an active boston then I suggest one cup of adult kibble twice to three times a day plus fruits and vegetables in between meals.

· Ask yourself how often you put food in your mouth throughout the day. I can guarantee you that your answer is double if not more than how often you feed your dog.

· Remember the more active they are the more calories they are burning off.

· Feeding two to three meals of kibble is preferred. Feeding fruits and veggies between meals is better for her than dog treats.

-If you have a boston that is not as active due to age or just personality you may want to consider a diet that is low in calories such as a weight management or senior kibble. You would still feed one cup twice to three times a day with healthy snacks in between meals.

If your dog eats fast, does not chew and/or gorges their food you need to make some changes in addition to adjusting the amount he is being feed and the frequency.

· Start with evaluating how much you are feeding and how often.

· Place the kibble on a flat surface such as a plate or floor to require the dog to pick up each individual kibble slowing her down.

MABTR’s preferred diet is the following: there are many diets out there so do your research to find what works for your dog. You may need to change food as the dog ages.

· ADULTS: Purina Pro Plan Focus Sensitive Stomach OR Lamb and Rice dry

· SENIORS: Purina Pro Plan Focus Weight Management dry

· PUPPIES: Purina Pro Plan Focus Chicken/Lamb and Rice Puppy dry


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