Home About Us Our Services Patient Forms News Ask Dr. Davis contact  
aiken pet fitness and rehabilitation

How to Help Your Dog Lose Weight

An estimated 35 million dogs in the U.S. are considered overweight or obese, putting them at risk for diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis and cancer. Dr. Sybil Davis suggests ways to help your dog slim down after the holidays.

Like their owners, dogs usually gain weight between Thanksgiving and the New Year, so think twice before handing them an occasional oatmeal cookie. Although it might seem harmless, one oatmeal cookie for canines is the equivalent of eating one hamburger for humans.

To drive the message home, research by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention suggests that 1 pound of weight gained by a dog is equivalent to 5 to 7 pounds on a person. 

If your dog needs to diet, consider these tips:

  • Consult your veterinarian before starting a weight-loss program. Check in periodically to monitor your dog’s progress.
  • Calories in dog foods vary, even in so-called diet or light foods. Ideally, a weight-loss food should contain fewer than 300 calories per cup. The calorie count for treats and most dry dog foods is available at www.petobesityprevention.com, as well as articles and ideas to help your dog lose weight. 
  • If you switch your dog’s food, do so gradually. Over a week’s time, slowly add less of the previous food until the changeover is complete.
  • Crash diets aren’t good for pets or people. Dr. Phil Zeltzman, author of Walk a Hound, Lose a Pound, says steady weight loss is ideal, typically 1 percent to 2 percent of total bodyweight per week.
  • Don’t allow your dog to eat all its food in one sitting. Split portions into two or three small meals. Place food rations for an entire day into individual containers.When the food is gone, switch to low-calorie treats.
  • Limit treats to 10 percent of your pet's total daily calories. The calories he needs depend on weight, age, and activity level. For example, a small 10-pound dog may only need 290 to 450 calories a day. Limit treats to 29 to45 calories. Ask your vet about your pet's needs. But beware: Some treats can weigh in at more than 75 calories each.
  • Low-calorie treats include a piece of carrot, broccoli, a green bean or an apple. NEVER give treats that are toxic to dogs, including raisins, grapes, macadamia nuts, onions, peaches, plums or chocolates.
  • Limit or eliminate table scraps.
  • Get the family on board with your dog’s new diet. Everyone should follow the new feeding and treat regimen. 
  • Use playtime, walks or toys as rewards instead of treats. 
  • Exercise your dog twice daily for at least 20 minutes to keep both of you fit and help maintain a normal weight.  

Walk Less, Lose More with TrimDog

Available at Aiken Pet Fitness and Rehabilitation

A new study finds that overweight dogs that walk with the TrimDog Weight Belt lose weight faster.

Veterinarian Michele Rohrer of Atlantic Animal Hospital in Wilmington, N.C., conducted the clinical trial in partnership with TrimDog. Studies that involve people mirror similar results. 

Dr. Rohrer’s study included 12 canines, ages 2 to 10 that were considered overweight. One group walked with the TrimDog Weight Belt; the other group did not. Owners were instructed to walk their dogs at a brisk pace five times each week for 30 minutes and make no changes to their pets’ diets.

The dogs were weighed at Atlantic Animal Hospital before the study, again at week four and a final time at the end of the trial.

After eight weeks, dogs that walked with the TrimDog Weight Belt lost an average of 4 percent bodyweight, according to the study. Dogs that walked without it lost an average of 1 percent.

We love this product,” said veterinarian Sybil Davis, owner of Aiken Pet Fitness and Rehabilitation. “It's simple, effective and easy to use. We not only recommend the TrimDog Exercise Belt for weight loss, but we also use it on rehab patients to strengthen their rear legs.”

The belt is available for purchase at Aiken Pet Fitness and Rehabilitation, and the staff will measure your dog for proper fit.

[VIDEO] TrimDog Exercise Belt is Veterinarian Approved »

Want more articles?

Walk a Hound, Lose a Pound
Join a new fitness program, Walk a Hound, Lose a Pound, which helps dogs and their human companions get fit together. No dog? No problem. Homeless residents of the Aiken County Animal Shelter have volunteered to be exercised, loved and petted. Read more »

Purina and Aiken Pet Fitness help fight pet obesity
Humans aren't the only ones fighting the battle of the bulge. The number of overweight dogs and cats in America continues to rise. Nearly half (45 percent) of canines and 58 percent of felines are overweight or obese (at least 20 percent above ideal weight), according to a recent survey by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention. Read more »

Paws for fitness: How physical therapy helps
Over the past 10 years, pet rehabilitation has emerged from boutique services to what is fast becoming a mainstream treatment option in veterinary medicine.  Not surprisingly, people the world over are recognizing that physical therapy is not just for people but can also mean pain relief, increased mobility, and a better life for their pet. Read more »

Stretch your hound for a healthier life
Playing, chasing, begging and walking often take a toll. Just like people, dogs experience joint degeneration, muscle pain and general body breakdown. Dr. Sybil Davis explains how exercise, followed by simple stretches, can improve your dog’s health, while you get fit, too.Read more »


New patients and their owners are always welcome. We are open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to noon by appointment. Click here or call
(803) 226-0012 to make an appointment.


What our clients say ...

Quinn and I visited Dr. Sybil Davis at Aiken Pet Fitness and Rehabilitation this morning. I am so impressed. What a positive experience. The facility, the staff and Dr. Davis are great at what they do. I highly recommend them for any fitness or rehab needs. Thanks for fitting us in.

  — Nancy Webster, Quinn's owner

Snoopy and I love Sybil and Maggie (and Annette too, although we don't see her as often). Snoopy has recovered almost completely from her torn ACL with no surgery.

  — Mary Lou Seymour, Snoopy's owner
  Read more testimonials »