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Helping your GSD lose weight

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If you have determined your dog is overweight, the next step is to help him or her lose the excess weight. Often just cutting back their food slightly and increasing their exercise is enough to help this happen. However, in some cases more may need to be done.

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First you want to understand what the proper weight on a German Shepherd Dog looks and feels like. Take a moment to read my past article on this topic.

Once you realize what you want your dog to eventually look like, you can start towards that goal.
Remember, just because your dog is begging, acting hungry or staring at you with those sad eyes does NOT mean that he needs food. Most dogs will happily eat anything you give them, whether they are hungry or not. While you may be satisfying his immediate urge to have some of your food (and making yourself feel better), you are making the dog more miserable in the long run as he starts to climb up those numbers on the scale. It is important to cut out (or drastically cut back) snacks during the day.

As long as your dog is healthy and has no underlying health concerns, he will eat when he is hungry. That means you should pick the best food you can feed him and stick to it. Do not add extra things to his food to entice him. If he turns his nose up to the regular food, fine, let him walk away from it. You should give him his bowl with his healthy meal inside and if he leaves the dish pick it up and put it away. Then he gets nothing until the next scheduled meal time. Be strong, do not give in and give him a snack. At the next scheduled meal time, put the same dish down for him to eat. When he is hungry, he will eat it. He will learn that you are done coddling him and adding other things to entice him.

Next important aspect of weight loss is exercise! Depending on how overweight or obese your dog is, you may need to start out slowly. You should consult a veterinarian about what type of exercise is best for your dog if you are concerned about this issue. If your dog is grossly obese, you may want to start out with shorter walks and build up to a longer distance over time. Just as it is in humans, you want the dog to burn more calories so that means more exercise.

As a side note, some people think that if they feed a diet kibble that is all they need. Most of the diet formulated kibbles really do not do much for the dog and are usually not very healthy. It is usually best to just continue feeding the best diet you can (either a high quality kibble or a raw diet) and cut back on the amount.

Remember, you are helping your dog lose weight for his own good and it will be well worth it in the long run!

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