Weight loss in dogs is roughly 60% diet and 40% exercise. We'll discuss the exercise part first. The first misunderstanding I want to clarify is that not near as many calories are burned with exercise as you think. Walking only uses twice as many calories, roughly, as sleeping on the couch does. So, if sleeping on the couch burns 1 calorie per kilogram of weight per hour (which is the calculation for people, and dogs are similar to people) then your 50 pound couch potato pup only burns about 25 calories taking a 60 minute snooze. Going for a walk then only burns about 50 calories. This sounds pretty good doesn't it? Until you realize that you have to walk him for 60 minutes to burn those calories, and that the large milkbone you just gave him after his walk contains over a 100 calories in it. He barely even tasted it and and now you've got 2 more hours of walking to burn off that milkbone!
My point is that it takes a lot more exercise than you think to burn off those high calorie treats and foods that your dog devoured in a matter of minutes. One minute of pleasure now turns into hours of neighborhood walks. Many dog owners get frustrated with weight loss for their pooch when their weight reduction program consists of adding a couple of 20 minute walks each week into the routine. As you can see, this will burn very few calories, which leads to minimal, if any, weight loss. Owners often conclude that it is too difficult to get their dog to lose weight and they stop trying. Unfortunately, this can translate into a shortened life span for your dog, increased risk of getting cancer, decreased quality of life from pain and reduced mobility. What's needed to be successful in having your four-legged friend lose weight the healthy way, is to seek out an veterinarian who is an expert in canine weight loss and fitness. There is no substitute for expert advice and guidance in devising an exercise (and a nutrition plan, but we'll talk about that next time) for helping your dog live the best life possible!!