New PDSA stats about pet obesity reveal a shocking situation, with overweight dogs on the increase and serious health risks on the cards for tubby pets. Is your pooch as lean as a racing snake or getting a bit podgy around the middle? Here’s how to tell whether you’re the proud owner of a lovely but lardy dog and if so, what to do about it.
The PDSA has just released new research on pet obesity… and it looks like our pooches are getting fatter than ever. According to their study, about 2.9 million British dogs are overweight. At the same time 84% of dog owners think their pets are the right weight, which highlights a problem: we’re not 100% sure what’s fat and what’s fine.
90% of dog owners admit giving their dog cheese, crisps, cakes, biscuits, toast and takeaways, all of which have the same effect on them as it does on us. Like humans, dogs who snack excessively on unsuitable foods soon pile on the pounds.
What the experts say
Also just like us, overweight pets are at risk of nasty conditions like diabetes, heart disease and arthritis, and flab even lowers their life expectancy. One PDSA Senior Veterinary Surgeon, Sean Wensley, commented, “Excess pounds can contribute to a number of serious health conditions and, sadly, it does reduce life expectancy. But the good news is that it’s never too late to make positive changes to a pet’s diet and lifestyle.”
According to the experts, prevention is better than a cure, and it’s easier than dieting. If your dog is young you can start with good habits and stick with it. But what if it’s too late and you need to backtrack fast before your pooch breaks the bathroom scales?
How can you tell if your dog is getting fat?
What shape should your dog be? If you have no idea what a healthy doggie-shape looks like, you can always ask your vet. Or visit the PDSA website for advice and guidance on the right body shape, with a special ‘body conditioning’scoring leaflet to download – here’s a link.
5 doggy weight loss tips
- Many dog treats come with a high calorie count, which means it’s easy to overdo it without realising what you’re doing. If you want to treat your pet, reduce their ordinary food so you don’t end up over-feeding them.
- A healthy weight means a balanced lifestyle, where the amount of food your dog eats is balanced by exercise. If you use scales to weight out your dog’s food, you can’t over-feed them by mistake. How much? Follow the recommended feeding guide on the packet, or ask your vet.
- Don’t dive in at the deep end and take your pooch on a ten mile walk when he or she is used to pottering gently round the block. Build up exercise bit by bit, including plenty of play and games to keep them keen. If you’re not sure how much exercise to give your dog, or how to build it up, ask your vet. Too much running about can lead to heat stroke in hot summers, so it makes sense to get it right.
- See your vet. Rapid weight loss can be dangerous and pets don’t always respond well to a sudden change in diet. Your vet will give you sensible advice about dog weight loss, tailored to your dog’s exact needs.
- Do it now! The longer you wait, the harder it’ll be for your dog to lose the weight. Owners have been prosecuted for letting their pets put on large amounts of weight but it’s rare, usually when an owner has consistently ignored their vet’s advice. Taking action is better than ignoring it!
Yummy natural ‘lite’ dog food
Our hypo-allergenic Lite rangeis lower in calories, specially formulated to help overweight dogs and pooches who put weight on easily. It’s also perfect for older dogs who exercise less, dogs on a low protein, low fat diet and pets who don’t get out much.
Lite is gentle on the tummy, enriched with natural Glucosamine, Chondroitin and MSM, essential nutrients like Omega 3 and 6, vitamins and minerals. It’s great for overall health, a strong immune system, shiny coat, strong nails and flexible joints.
Has your dog lost weight?
If so, how did you do it and how did they feel about it? It’d be great to share your experiences. Visit our Facebook page and join the conversation.
Image source: Everydaypants