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Q & A — Overweight

Help! My dogs went to the veterinarian recently and he said that two of them are 2 and 3 pounds overweight, respectively. I make all their food at home. How can I help them lose weight?

Try cutting down on the starchy things like rice / potatoes / carrots (and other root vegetables) and increasing the lean meat. Beef heart counts as lean meat and can usually be bought at the butcher’s counter (they might have to special order it, but it doesn’t hurt to ask) for much cheaper than regular cuts. The lean meat should be a minimum of 50% of each meal, you can go as high as 80% meat to 20% other stuff.

Also, using your dog’s ideal healthy weight, feed 2% of body weight per day, divided across two scheduled meals. So for a dog that should weigh 5 lbs, you’d feed just about 2 oz of food each day. It’s not a lot, but they’re really small animals. Get a kitchen scale to weigh the food (weigh empty bowl first, then add the appropriate amount of food).

You can feed slightly more if there’s a high water content in the food, as is common with home cooked meals, but start at 2 – 3 ounces per day and see how your dog does. If they are really hungry between meals, you can give them green beans / spinach / broccoli to munch on.