Creating a Healthy Weight Loss Program for Your Dog

medsMy dog Rolo was overweight; as of September 2014 he weighed in at a whooping 108lbs. Rolo has Canine Epilepsy and one of the side effects of his twice daily medication is weight gain.  Along with this extra weight he also has hind end weakness, which is another side effect of the medication, Phenobarbital. We needed to do something to counteract the medication and go about getting his weight down the proper way and build up the strength in those back legs. Rolo's weight loss journey was very low impact due to his hind end weakness along with arthritis, so we had to adjust everything accordingly, which is why his walks started at a very short length until I could build up more strength in his legs. Keeping him mobile was key in keeping all those joints lubricated and moving.

Things that have aided in Rolo's weight loss program:
♥ low calorie treats
♥ two meals a day
♥ daily walks, 10 minutes increasing length each day by a minute up to 30 minutes per walk
♥ low calorie dog food, we choose Natural Balance® Low Calorie Dog Food
♥ create a meal plan; we chose a rotational diet, which included his low calorie dog food along with a nutritious topper (various veggies, cooked & raw meat & pumpkin puree)

♥ daily massages to help aid muscle relaxation & stimulation
♥ supplements; coconut oil, glucosamine & chondroitin for joints, milk thistle to protect his liver and kidneys from his canine epilepsy medication.
♥ grippy socks to increase traction on the hardwood floors (due to hind end weakness)

Rolo will be heading to the vet in the next month to get his twice yearly phenobarbital levels checked and I cannot wait to see the progress he has made since his last weigh in he had in June. When we started his weight loss journey, Rolo didn’t have any hip indents; he was like a rectangle and even now he clearly has indents, and a lot of stress has come off of his hips! He is like a brand new dog who is full of life and has tons of energy.

Current Weight Loss:
September 2014 – 108lbs
January 2015 – 100.1lbs
March 2015 – 97lbs
June 2015 - 94.2lbs
November 2015 - ???
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We wanna hear what you are doing to help keep your pet in tip top shape! Share with us below in the comment section.  

Disclaimer: I am not a veterinarian, dog trainer, or dietician. All of these results are my own and if you are wanting to change your pet's lifestyle, please consult a professional first.


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Positively Expert: Kimberley Matchem

Kimberley has used her passion for animals, being a shelter animal advocate & dog mom to launch her own pet blog to inspire others looking to adopt through real life stories and adventures. It also gives an inside look into her life as a dog mom to former shelter dog, Rolo.


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  • Jan

    My smaller dog, who is less active than my others, seems to gain weight easily. I finally figured out that I needed to feed him quite a bit less than the recommended amount of the food on the label. So I cut back on it quite a bit. They recommended 2 1/2 cups per day for his size...and now he gets 1 1/3 per day (giving half in morning and half in evening). He has been maintaining a healthy weight ever since I cut back. I feed them good quality food, and also try to only give him healthy treats...blueberries, apples, green beans, carrots, pumpkin. And luckily, he loves ice...so he gets that as a daily treat which increases his water intake, and that helps in a lot of other ways as well.

  • Kim Matchem

    Have you ever tried a pet fountain? Rolo loves his from petsafe.
    What you said above is alot like what I did with Rolo (dog in article). He had low calorie food (natural balance low calorie) and got less then what was instructed on package but i then increased his toppers of healthy veggies to give him a full belly. I did still give treats and stuff as he is trained with positive reinforcement and treats were his reward for good behavior. Rolo is also very inactive due to his legs but we are slowly working on still strengthening them. Keep up the good work!

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