How to avoid your puppy from growing into an obese dog

Are you planning to welcome a new puppy to your home? Read tips to help you keep it a healthy weight and avoid obesity.

Did you know that in the UK, a staggering 50% of dogs are overweight or obese? So if your dog has put on a few pounds recently, you’re not alone!

Unfortunately, obesity carries similar risks for dogs as it does for humans, from diabetes to heart disease. That’s why controlling your dog’s weight is crucial, but navigating healthier choices can be tricky. 

To help you, Earth Rated spoke to Myriam Doré, an Animal Health Technician, on how to help your puppy stay a healthy weight.

How much should you feed a puppy?

Being a new puppy parent comes with a lot of questions, and nutrition is one of the most important. Making sure your puppy gets the nutrition they need is a top priority. The amount and manner of feeding a puppy will vary according to age, breed and activity level. So, it’s always important to talk to professionals like your veterinarian to get the information you need about portion sizes and feeding routines.

Whatever their size, puppies need high-energy foods because they expend a lot of energy. They’re constantly on the move, burning more calories. Caloric requirements increase considerably during the first 12 months of life, but they need to be regulated. Excess calories lead to obesity later in life, which can also cause orthopedic problems.

How do specific breed characteristics impact a puppy’s dietary needs?

Despite requiring more energy daily than smaller dogs, large/giant breed dogs need fewer calories per body weight per day. You should also consider that some breeds are much more active, so the dog will need a higher caloric intake. Then, there’s the dog’s lifestyle to consider. For example, an agile working dog will expend considerably more energy than a dog with a more sedentary lifestyle.

What are the signs that a puppy is overfed or underfed?

Obesity is the most common preventable disease in dogs; up to 30% of dogs are obese. However, overfeeding is not just about weight gain. In addition to obesity, the risk of overfeeding your dog can lead to other consequences.

These include digestive problems, orthopedic problems and an increased risk of developing diabetes. So don’t take it lightly. Signs that you are underfeeding your dog can be: visible hips and spine, losing weight, lack of energy, changes in coat and skin, producing less poop, constant begging, still being hungry immediately after meals and scavenging for food.

How should puppy owners adjust food quantity as their puppy transitions to adulthood?

It’s best to introduce your dog to a new diet gradually. The recommended period is 7-10 days. Mix increasing amounts of the new adult food and reduce the amount of puppy food in their daily portions. This gradual change will make it easier for your dog to get used to the taste, texture and consistency of the new diet, while avoiding the risk of digestive upsets.

In addition, you shouldn’t switch a large-breed puppy to an adult dog food too early (for example, when they’re between six and ten months old), to limit calorie intake. At this age, your puppy is still growing. Changing to a lower-energy diet can lead to developmental and future orthopedic problems.

Founded in 2009, Earth Rated® is a private company that creates thoughtfully designed products for people who love dogs.

As a B Corp certified company focused on innovation and responsibility, their mission is to make everyday moments for people and their dogs simpler and better. Earth Rated products are used by over 4.5M people daily and can be found in over 25,000 stores in 40+ countries