Obesity is now one of the most common problems seen by vets.
Why does it matter if my dog is fat?
Overweight dogs can be more likely to develop diseases such as diabetes, pancreatitis and it can exacerbate heart and lung disease as well as osteoarthritis.
Sadly, it is fact that an overweight dog will die on average 2 years earlier than their healthy counterpart.
If your dog is middle aged but you have noticed them slowing down check their weight to see if they are carrying around too much fat.
How do I know if my dog is overweight?
You should be able to feel your dog’s ribs but not see them and they should have a noticeable waist behind the ribs when viewed from above. If you are unsure whether your dog is overweight or how much your dogs should weigh, then take them to your vets for a weight clinic – most vets will offer free weight checks.
How do I help my dog lose weight?
The simple answer to this is to feed them less and exercise them more. However in reality this can be hard, especially if your dog has got you trained to feed them just by giving you puppy eyes and letting out a pitiful cry!
Cut their food down gradually over a couple of months so that their stomach shrinks and they don’t feel as hungry. Generally, if your dog is very overweight they should be fed half the amount that you are feeding at present.
Some owners may feel like they are then feeding nothing at all. If this is the case, consider feeding a light diet which contains less calories per gram of food or bulk the food up with vegetables if your dog will eat them.
Weigh out the food and stick to the same amount every day. If your dog is not losing weight, then you will know how much to reduce it by.
If you love to give treats, then try weighing out your dog’s food for the day and leaving it to one side. Give some of their daily food allowance instead of a treat if they have been good.
Look for Bob Martin’s Naturally Healthy treats with the low fat icon. If they are soft enough, you can even break them in half and only give half at a time.
Avoid feeding your dog human foods whilst your dog is on a diet as the calorie content will often be a lot higher than you think. It is also surprising how many calories can be in a biscuit or dental chew so choose all treats wisely.
Exercise plays a very important role in helping your dog lose weight. Overweight animals will generally be more lethargic and therefore will need less to eat, by getting them moving you will help burn calories and then will be able to feed a little more.