Vets estimate that about 50% of UK dogs are now overweight. Dogs are becoming unhealthy. Unfortunately, as owners, we are responsible. We are all guilty of feeling sorry for our dog when they are asking for a crust of toast. It’s also very difficult to say no to other people (especially children!) when they feed your dog!
In this article, we explore why it’s important to keep your dog a healthy weight and what you can do about it.
Why is your dog’s weight important?
I became aware that weight was important when Fleet started limping badly. Our vet told me that she needed to lose 2kg to ensure her joints did not hold up excess weight. After changing Fleet’s diet, her limp disappeared.
Other health risks associated with an overweight dog are pretty shocking:
- Reduced lifespan
- Urine incontinence
- Back problems
- Breathing problems
Is your dog overweight?
A dog's weight will change with age, activity level, diet, sleep, breed and probably lots of other factors! The best thing to do if you are unsure what weight your dog should be (or what they should look like) is to ask your vet at your next checkup.
The PDSA recommend the following checks:
- Look at your dog from the side and from above. They should have a smooth, tucked-in waist.
- Feel under your dog’s tummy. It should go in, not bulge out.
- Feel along your dog’s side and back. You should be able to feel your dog’s ribs, spine and hipbones quite easily but they shouldn’t stick out.
- Feel the base of your dog’s tail. There shouldn’t be any build-up of fat where the tail meets your dog’s back.
How to keep your dog a healthy weight
- Feed your dog the right amount. Use recommended guides and watch your dog closely for any changes. If they put on weight, reduce the food a little, if they lose weight, add more. Quality of food too?
- More exercise - it’s true! Keep the weight off with regular walks.
- Fibre and vegetables in their diet. Most companies try to avoid the word ‘fibre’ when advertising their dog food products. I suppose it's to promote the increasing raw food trend. In actual fact, fibre is incredibly good for your dog and one of the most important ingredients for gastrointestinal health. Your dog will also feel fuller for longer without having any extra calories in their diet.
Fleetful dog food and dog treat kits are specially formulated to give your dog the nutrients they need. This means they stay healthy and fuller for longer! Every ingredient is chosen for its nutritional value.
If nothing is working, it might be an underlying condition and it would be a good idea to visit your vet.