New Year’s Weight Loss Resolution? Consider your dog, too! Series | Part 2

Obesity Management

You already know how difficult it is to stay consistent with your own New Year’s resolution, but working alongside your veterinarian and utilizing the following tips to reduce your dog’s weight could have a lasting positive impact on both you and your pet! First and foremost, you should work alongside your veterinarian to have a comprehensive nutritional assessment performed. Partnering with your veterinarian ensures that all health factors are taken into consideration (including any diseases your animal might have) before making a weight loss plan. Your veterinarian will likely have a target or ideal body weight for your pet to achieve! Keeping this goal in mind, you can more easily take actionable steps.

Your veterinarian might make weight loss food recommendations, or calculate a restricted calorie intake for your pet. Reducing the number of calories eaten is the main method utilized for weight loss; however, simply feeding less of your regular dog food could cause your pet to miss out on important nutrients. Ensuring your dog meets all of their nutritional requirements is paramount, so your veterinarian may have specific dog food recommendations, or connect you with a veterinary nutritionist to formulate the best diet for your pet. Caloric restriction often means that the dog eats a smaller portion of food, which could lead to more food seeking behavior or “begging” from your pet.


To minimize or manage food seeking behavior, utilizing food toys, slow feeders, or food puzzles can both prolong meal time and increase physical and mental activity of your pet. You could also split the feeding times into smaller more frequent meals throughout the day to limit begging during inconvenient times (e.g., when you are sleeping or have guests over). When food seeking behavior occurs, you can also redirect the behavior by responding with quality time activities, such as playing, petting, or going for a walk, all of which can provide physical stimulus for your animal to help promote weight loss.

Clear communication and goal setting with your veterinarian can help your pet become healthier alongside you in this New Year!



Gossellin, J., et al. “Canine Obesity – an Overview.” Journal of Veterinary Pharmacology and Therapeutics, vol. 30, no. s1, 2007, pp. 1–10. Wiley Online Library,

Shepherd, Megan. “Canine and Feline Obesity Management.” Veterinary Clinics: Small Animal Practice, vol. 51, no. 3, May 2021, pp. 653–67.,

Your Pet’s Healthy Weight | American Veterinary Medical Association. Accessed 3 Jan. 2024.