Those of us who have some puppy fat with us after our Christmas and lockdown indulgences should spare a thought for our pooches.
It seems that we humans are not the only ones in need of a health and fitness program this New Year.
A number of data gives serious cause for thought – as more than half of our nation’s dogs are now classified as obese.
According to a report by Burgess Pet Care, 51% in the UK are obese and nearly 600,000 other pets in the UK are overweight.
Pugs were the breed of dog that was most likely to be overweight. Three quarters were classified as obese by veterinarians. Similarly, more than two-thirds of boxers were considered too heavy, including golden retrievers, German shepherds, spaniels, and Staffordshire bull terriers.
Research has found that more than three quarters of pet owners aren’t sure how much their pets should weigh, and one third admit they never measure portions. It is clear that we need to work out our ideas for the sake of their health and wellbeing.
Here we rely on expert advice to answer the questions every dog owner should ask:
Q: Why is it so important to know if my dog is carrying too much fat?
A: Pet obesity can cause serious health problems and exacerbate existing problems, which can reduce the length and quality of your pet’s life. Weight problems can cause and contribute to diabetes, heart disease, shortness of breath, high blood pressure, and cancer. Being overweight means they could live two years less than healthier dogs.
Q: How do I know if my dog is overweight?
A: When it comes to treating pet obesity, knowledge is key – from determining that your pet is overweight, to understanding what makes a healthy diet, to portion control and making sure it’s the right amount Has movement.
- You should be able to see and feel the outlines of your dog’s ribs without excessive fat coverage.
- You should be able to see and feel your dog’s waist, and it should be clearly visible when viewed from above.
- Your dog’s belly should be pulled up when viewed from the side.
Your vet can help too. Many practices have weight management clinics and your veterinarian can provide expert advice, practical advice, and support. Very obese pets require a personalized weight loss program developed by the veterinarian. It can take a few months for your pet to achieve their ideal physical condition.
Q: How do I control my pet’s food portions?
A: You can do different things:
- Always follow the product feeding instructions on the packaging. You may need to adjust the amount you feed based on your pet’s age, neuter status, breed, and lifestyle.
- Always weigh food servings with kitchen scales until you know the correct amount for cup feeding. Don’t guess as this is the easiest way to overfeed.
- Avoid human food and leftover food.
- Treats should never make up more than 10% of your pet’s daily caloric intake. Whenever offering treats, always reduce the size of your pet’s meal.
- Weigh your pet regularly – at least once a month.
Sign up for our Team Dog newsletter. All we need is your email address and you will become part of our army of dog lovers. Every week you will receive a newsletter with lots of stories, advice and the best deals on dog products. You can log in Here.
Q: Is it all about diet?
A: No, the key to pet weight loss is diet and exercise. Making sure your pet has an active lifestyle with lots of walks and play time is good for both physical and mental health. Exercise alone isn’t enough to help your pets lose weight, but it does help.
Start gradually and be especially careful with older pets, especially in hot weather. Older pets should see the veterinarian first. A little and often is the safest way to get started. Try to take your dog out and introduce active games at least twice a day – strolling down the street on a leash won’t burn many calories. Increase the level of activity at home too. Buy toys to hide groceries in, but remember to subtract the “treat” from the daily grocery allowance.