Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Healthy Dogs

Select An Article
Font Size

Help for Overweight Dogs

How to create a doggie diet for weight loss and good nutrition.

Are You Making Your Dog Fat?

Another, non-genetic reason for an overweight dog is more obvious: YOU, the owner, may be overindulging your pet, most likely with treats or people food.

"Food is love, and people want to make their pets happy," Tams says. "Very often, it is not the dog’s official food that is causing the weight problem; it is all the additional treats or snacks between meals," Murray says.

Portion Control Is Key

Knowing the correct serving size of food for your overweight dog is imperative for success. Companies often place information on labels or include charts on their web sites. But because many variables, such as size, are factored into the equation, get advice from your veterinarian on how often and how much to feed your dog.

Putting Your Dog on a Diet

After you’ve verified that your furry friend needs to slim down, consider everything he eats on a daily basis. "Do an honest assessment, covering all treats and snacks, including those given by other family members, neighbors, dog sitters, and dog walkers," Murray says. "You may find all you need to do is cut these out."

You don’t need to nix treats altogether. "Be realistic -- if you or your family likes to give them, it's unlikely that a no-treat policy will succeed," Murray says. "Choose healthy alternatives, such as veggies or rice cakes, and decide at the beginning of each day exactly how many the dog is allowed; put this amount in a bowl, and when they're gone, they're gone."

Another tactic to try is reducing portions. Murray recommends immediately cutting daily food intake by 15% to 20% for a six- to eight-week period, then analyzing the results. Additionally, your veterinarian can calculate the exact amount of calories your pet needs per day to lose weight based on his current size, ideal body weight, energy level, and general health.

Don’t Give In to Begging

If your overweight dog whines and cries for more food, hold firm. "That causes a lot of owners to buckle," Tams says.

Murray says: "Your dog will certainly whine if he knows that will get him more treats and snacks." If you’re serving the correct portion, more food will only contribute to weight issues.

Next Article:

Today on WebMD

bulldog in party hat
Breeds with longevity
Doberman Pinscher Clipped Ears
The facts about ear cropping and tail docking.
dog with duck in mouth
Which are considered smartest?
boxer dog
What are their health issues?
Pit bull looking up
Pets: Is My Dog Normal
Dog scratching behind ear
dog catching frisbee
Dog Breed RMQ
Lady owner feeding dog
bulldog in party hat

Special Sections