How to spot an overweight dog, the best weight control dog food and nutrition tips

Is your dog overweight? If your dog has excess fat it can affect their overall health and cause serious problems as they get older. It might be worth considering going on a dog diet, using a combination of weight control dog food, exercise and healthy treats to improve your dogs health.

Is my dog overweight?

How do you tell if your dog is overweight? Ideally it’s best to have regular visits to the vet to keep on top of your dogs overall health. They can help spot things you might not notice as well as if your pooch is getting a little portly! A good gauge is if you can feel your dogs ribs without a layer of fat in between the skin and bone. Another good indicator that your dog is overweight is if his stomach is as wide as his chest, dogs should have a noticeable dip from the underneath of their chest to their stomach.

Dog Diet 101

Overweight dog diet

Easy ways for your dog to lose weight

Increase Exercise

Not in to walking? Try games involving healthy treats to increase activity. Get excited about going out, and so will they!

Portion Control

Use an ideal dog weight calculator to find out how much food your dog needs to eat per day to stay healthy.

Swap to Healthy Treats

A lot of dogs love carrots and cucumber as a healthy treat. Deer antlers are great for cleaning teeth. Treats should never be bigger than the tip of your finger. Just be careful to avoid human foods that may harm your dog.

All On Board

Make sure everyone is on the same page. Do the kids like to feed toast crusts to the dog? Make sure everyone knows why the dog is on a diet, it's for their health and happiness.

These tasty Chicken bites from Nature’s Menu are made from natural ingredients and sure to go down well. 

Top Tip – Feed your dog earlier in the day instead of late at night so they have time to work off excess calories.


Think about the size of a dogs stomach compared to a humans;


“A chocolate digestive to a Jack Russell is almost the same as a portion of chips to a person”

Blue Cross


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What is the best diet dog food?

Why are big brand dog foods bad?

“Shelf stable” dog foods can last anywhere up to two years when sealed. They are made at high temperatures that kill any enzymes that may resemble real food and are packed with stabilizers and preservatives. Dry dog food can cause a whole host of health problems for canines as it doesn’t resemble a balanced diet.

Imagine only eating food with a 1 year plus shelf life!

Dogs, like us, need fresh foods like vegetables and fruit as part of a natural balanced diet. Whole foods are also an essential source of fibre that aids digestion and can stop recurring diarrhoea in dogs. Antioxidants and anti-inflammatories are also vital to keep your dog healthy and avoid nasty issues in old age.

Grain is a cheap filler that is totally unnecessary in a dogs diet. Many named brands offer low calorie dog food for weight loss but they are still packed with grain and “fillers”. Switch to a healthier, more natural dog diet.


What is the best weight control dog food in the UK?

We’ve spoken about food that isn’t good for your dog. They can’t control their diet so it’s up to us. Whether it’s limiting their eating, stopping them from drinking out of stinky puddles or stealing human food that will cause them stomach problems or worse. To help there are some fantastic UK based dog food companies that only use natural ingredients that are good for your dogs health.

Barking Heads are a fantastic company that also offer a Fat Dog Slim weight control dog food. They only use the best natural ingredients in their low fat dog food and even better is that it’s approved by vets.

Read more on what to feed a Jack Russell Terrier and other small dogs here.

The Best Dog Food Supplements in the UK

Why not go one step further and help your dogs digestion with clinically proven probiotics? YuMove are the UK’s leading veterinary dog supplement brand. Their digestive supplement can help maintain a healthy balance in your dogs gut and protect it from any bad bacteria.


What is the Raw Dog Food diet?

Humans are the only species on earth that cook meat so it’s no surprise it might not be the best solution for your dogs diet. With the raw dog food diet nutrients which are usually lost in cooking stay intact, helping to protect your dog from conditions such as joint problems, diabetes & kidney problems. 

How much should I feed my dog per day?

It’s really difficult to assess how much food your dog needs to eat per day. It varies according to age, weight, activity levels and even whether or not they have been neutered. There are some really helpful dog food calculators for weight loss that take in to consideration these factors, but they aren’t perfect. You can start by gradually reducing your dogs portion sizes, limiting treats and switching to healthier dog food.

Is my dog too skinny?

On the other end of the spectrum your dog may be a little thin or underweight. This can be a sign of an underlying health condition and is worth a trip to the vets to be certain, especially if it’s sudden. If there’s not an underlying cause it could just be down to poor nutrition, read more about the best dog nutrition here.

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Author Bio Jo Williams is a freelance writer from London, England. There is nothing she loves to talk about more than dogs, good food and travelling. Coming from a family of JR owners, Jo shares generations of tips and advice for looking after these mischievous little dogs.