19 tips to help your dog lose weight

19 tips to help your dog lose weight

5 May 2023

Written and reviewed by Dr Jill McMaster BVM&S MBA MRCVS, Veterinary Surgeon and in-house expert at BorrowMyDoggy

Are you struggling to help your dog lose weight? If so, you're not alone. Many pet parents find it difficult to get their fuzzy friends to drop those extra pounds. But don't worry – we've got you covered! So here are 19 tips that will help your dog lose weight and get back in shape.


1. Vet visit

Start by taking your dog to the vet for a check-up to see if there are medical reasons for them being a bit overweight. If all looks good, then your veterinary practice is also the pawfect place to get advice on a diet and exercise plan for your portly pooch.

2. Measure your dog's weight and body condition score

Check what weight your dog should be and how you can check your dog’s body condition score.

3. Monthly weight checks

Check your dog’s weight at least once a month (or as recommended by your veterinary practice) and keep a record.

You can use the free BorrowMyDoggy’s Healthy Habits diary and weight tracker!

Rolo the Cocker Spaniel waiting patiently at the vets for his health check
Rolo the Cocker Spaniel


4. Cutting down

If your dog is overweight it’s very important to cut down the amount of calories they are eating each day.

5. Portion control

Weigh out what your dog eats every day. Or to make it even simpler, if you feed dry food, have a cup that when filled up to the top is exactly the right weight for each meal for your dog - it makes it much less likely you’ll overfeed them if you can’t get any more in to the measuring cup.

6. Quality over quantity

Feed them a good quality, nutritious diet with plenty of fibre, to help them feel full for longer.

7. No feeding from the table

Those puppy dog eyes might have your heart, but remember all those little bits they get from the table add a lot of calories to your pooch’s daily intake. And once you feed them once from the table, they’ll be sure to remind you every time you sit down for tea!

8. Snack control

Either give less, change to lower calorie options or stop snacks altogether. Remember to be careful with lower-calorie treats though, as they can quickly add up.

Bayley the Cockapoo and friends sitting for a Waggs treat
Bayley the Cockapoo and friends

9. Make sure everyone is on board

One of the biggest challenges when trying to help your dog lose weight is friends or family members buying treats or giving your pooch secret snacks. Getting your dog in shape is a team effort, so no more “but he likes it” or “one more won’t do him any harm”

10. Slowing down

If you have a fast eater, sometimes slowing them down can make them feel they’ve got more from dinner time. For ideas to help your pup slow down, see our guide on slow feeding dog bowls!

11. Use a diary

Use our BorrowMyDoggy Health Habits Diary to record your dog’s food and exercise.

You can use the free BorrowMyDoggy’s Healthy Habits diary and weight tracker!

12.  Low calorie foods

These can be great to help on your dog’s weight loss journey. Check out our article on the best diet dog foods for a healthy pooch in the UK.

13.  Dry food options

Dry food can be surprisingly high in calories, so we’ve compiled a list on some low fat dry dog foods that will make your pup’s tail wag!

14.  Help for our senior pups

Helping your older dog lose weight can be a little bit tougher, so here are the best weight loss foods for older dogs. And we’ve got some more guidance in our guide for older dogs needing to lose a bit of weight.

Pip the Old English Sheepdog sitting with a carrot hanging out of their mouth
Pip the Old English Sheepdog


15. Make an exercise plan

Every dog needs a different amount of exercise dependent on their age, fitness and breed, so make sure your dog is getting enough. See our dog breed guides for information on your pup’s needs.

16. Record

Record how much exercise you’re doing with your dog, and be sure to time it, and challenge yourself to, within what you’re dog’s able to do, increase the amount they’re getting

You can use the free BorrowMyDoggy’s Healthy Habits diary and weight tracker!

Margo the Border Terrier enjoying a stretch with paws on a fallen tree
Margo the Border Terrier

17. Socialise while working out

Workout with friends, human or dog-shaped can help keep you motivated to walk further and run around more. With BorrowMyDoggy you can meet other dog owners for doggy playdates, and let your dog get lots of fun playtime.

18. Toys!

There are plenty of toys available that can help with getting your dog fit. Discover a couple of our favourite dog workout toys.

19. New experiences

Why not try a new workout with your dog?

Kika the Hungarian Vizlsa holding her turtle toy in her mouth ready for a game of tug and fetch
Kika the Hungarian Vizlsa

Weight loss guides

How to help an old dog lose weight

How to help your dog lose weight

Diet dog food UK

Best weight loss food for older dogs

Best low fat dry dog food

Dog workout toys

Slow feeder bowls

How heavy should my dog be

Doggy treat translator

Workout with your dog

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