Is my dog overweight?
Signs your pet could be overweight include one or more of the following:
- Ribs cannot easily be felt
- Loss of an obvious waist
- Collar needs loosening
- Difficulty in walking/standing up
- Slow movement
- Shortness of breath
- Bad temper
- Sleeping more than usual
What causes weight gain?
Portion sizes - most of us over-feed our dogs. Whilst many dry, complete foods are a good diet to feed, you often only need a small portion to provide all the daily nutritional needs for your dog. Always check the back of the food packet and weigh your dogs’ food out.
Too many treats and titbits – treats are often high in fat and sugar, especially leftovers of human food which often contain a lot of sugar & salt.
The wrong diet – some dog foods contain lots of fat & sugar. Avoid dry food that contains any colourings and additives
Age – older pets are less active and need fewer calories.
Neutering – metabolism is altered so dogs are prone to weight gain after neutering.
Breed – Some breeds including; Labradors, Cocker & King Charles Spaniels, are more likely to gain weight.
Pets are considered obese when they are as little as 20% overweight.
Common problems caused by obesity
- Severe Heart disease
- Liver disease
How can I help my dog lose weight?
Weight problems are common in dogs but just a little excess weight can cause serious health problems. You can help to get your dog back into shape through the right diet and increased exercise.
- Provide a good food and the correct amount for your dogs’ weight. If you feel that the portion of dry food looks too small and that you may prone to over-feeding, you can bulk out each meal with some wet food as this often contains little nutritional goodness.
- Regularly check the portion size as it is easy to gradually increase this without realising!
- Choose a low calorie food rather than reducing food intake dramatically.
- Divide food allowance into several smaller meals to help satisfy your pet and allow calories to be burned more quickly.
- Reward your dog with food from his food allowance rather than extra treats and scraps.
- Try giving your dog a carrot rather than a fatty chew!
Your dogs’ life expectancy can be cut by 2 years if they are overweight!
Increase levels of exercise through play and regular walking.
- Dogs that are seriously overweight may need to be put on a veterinary prescription low calorie food.
- If in doubt speak to a vet or other animal professional who will be able to advise you on a specific weight reduction plan.