According to the PDSA 1 in 3 UK dogs are now overweight.
Much like human type 2 diabetes, poor dog diet and lack of exercise are largely to blame.
We all want the best for our pets. However, many of us are guilty of spoiling our dogs. While an extra treat or two may be enjoyable for them in the short term, it can have a negative impact on their long-term health. As extreme as it sounds, we may just be killing them with kindness.
A fat dog can experience severe health problems including diabetes, heart disease, respiratory diseases, high blood pressure, cancers and more. An obese dog is likely to have a poorer quality of life, compared to a healthy dog maintaining a healthy weight.
Your pooch is happiest when they are active! A fat dog will struggle to lead an active life.
Obesity is a complex condition and there will inevitably be several factors involved. It is important we look at the whole picture and tackle the issue head on.
As weight gain tends to happen slowly over time, many owners are unaware that their dog has gained weight and is over-weight. This can happen at any age but usually occurs when a dog is fully mature, so over the age of one or two.
We should all get in the habit of assessing our dog’s weight each month using the ‘Body Condition Score’ tool. This is a simple chart that allows us to assign a number to our dog, based on their body shape. The scale goes from a 1 to a 9 and we are aiming for a 4 or 5.
It isn’t sensible to focus on the scales alone. Owners often ask me questions like ‘What weight should my three year old Springer Spaniel be?’. However, each dog is an individual and should be treated as such when it comes to their ideal weight.
It’s important to get that a dog weight loss journey happens gradually and it starts with a nutritionally appropriate dog diet. Much like humans, fad diets can affect dogs negatively, leading to skin, weight and behavioural problems.
We've outlined some ways to help a fat dog below. Use these tips to help kickstart a dog weight loss journey and take the steps towards seeing a happy, healthy dog.
Making sure that your dog consumes less calories than they expend is one of the first pieces of advice you will be given if you have a fat dog. This is true, but it is not the whole truth.
Ignore feeding guidelines. OK.... don't totally ignore feeding guidelines, but remember that they are just guidelines. They should be the starting point when you feed. Each dog is different, does different exercise, has a different metabolic rate, so the amount you need to feed is different. If your dog is not losing weight when fed the amount on the feeding guide you will need to reduce the amount given.
Consider ditching the food bowl and switching to alternate feeding methods. This can include scatter feeding (sprinkling kibble in e.g. grass for your dog to seek out) and the use of food puzzles. Getting your dog to ‘work’ for their food is also a great way for them to unwind and to keep their minds busy.
Keeping a food diary can help you understand where you may be over-doing it.
Like when humans make healthier diet choices, there's no need to deprive a fat dog of tasty meals. Pooch & Mutt's range of healthy dog food means your dog can enjoy food and still lose weight.
Slim & Slender is a complete, grain-free food is designed to help dog weight loss and general weight management. Perfect for helping your dog maintain a healthy weight and getting an obese dog on the right track!
The food is packed with active ingredients, including 45% lean, free run, British chicken, sweet potato as a digestion-aiding fibre, pea protein to lower hunger, CLA to support fat metabolism, and psyllium which promotes satiety.
If your pooch prefers a wet variety in their diet, take a look at our Fish, Potato and pea grain-free complete wet food carton. With 64% sustainably sourced white fish, an easily digestible protein source, alongside fibre rich potatoes and seaweed, this low fat recipe is perfect for pooches that need to lose weight.
Treating your dog can be essential, particularly if you are training them. Over-treating though, can often get the blame for dogs being obese, and this is often the case. One report has shown that a single Bonio treat has the same equivalent calorific load as a Chunky Kit Kat does for humans... and they recommend feeding 3 a day!! Dieting doggies should really keep treats to a minimum, but our range of Tube Treats are hand baked and just 3 calories per biscuit so the perfect solution.
We even offer a Bundle of all of the above to help your dog kick start their weight loss journey.
Although it can be counter-intuitive to think that adding to a dog's diet can help them lose weight, but there are some natural ingredients that can help a dog lose weight. These include; CLA and L-carnitine - which help burn fat, Psyllium - which helps dogs to feel fuller, Probiotics and Prebiotics which help digestion. These supplements can all be purchased individually, however they are all contained within Pooch & Mutt's weight-control food, Slim and Slender.
It’s necessary to give your dog exercise for their general well-being, but also because they love to be active! A healthy dog needs exercise, but a fat dog shouldn’t do too much too soon.
Start slow, 5 to 10 minutes is good for an obese dog while they get used to the exercise.
For a small obese dog - they may be able to get used to exercising by chasing a toy around the house.
As dog exercise becomes more regular, your pooch will become used to increased activity and you can gradually increase the level of exercise.
A fat dog can experience a huge strain on their joints. If your dog is severely overweight, you may want to consider swimming, as this will alleviate some of the pressure on the joints. Our Mobile Bones dog joint supplement is designed to support and maintain healthy dog joints - especially important for older dogs and those who are highly active, as well as obese dogs due to the extra pressure on the joints.
While Hydrotherapy is often used to aid post-surgery recovery, or dogs recovering from traumatic injury, it’s another fun way to get dog exercise into your routine with a range of health benefits. It’s also commonly used to help manage weight in obese dogs. A doggy swimming session can help improve muscle tone, cardiovascular stamina, and improve the range of movement in the joints.
All in all it really is diet and exercise that's the key.
As always if you have any questions, drop a comment below;