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Is your dog over-weight?

Posted by: Tim Berrisford  Date: 17/10/2013   Category: Pet Health

Just like humans, dogs can put on extra weight easily and it is the owner’s responsibility to prevent this from happening and keep them healthy. There has been an increase in overweight pets within the UK which can decrease your pet’s lifespan.

The PDSA (people’s dispensary for sick animals) has estimated there are over 18 million pets in Britain alone that have potentially life threatening diets.If you think your dog may be overweight the best thing to do is to consider why your pet is overweight and how you can prevent this. A dog’s meal should be a balance meal and most pet food now provides this.

Treats and snacks are usually the most common reason for obesity in pets. To reduce their sugary and fatty intake read the pack of what treats you give them and choose ones that are the best for them, your dog won’t notice the difference. Without knowing, an owner regularly gives dogs extras for example a few crisps, bits of their meal and this is a simple way of cutting down your dogs calories. Think about the food you give them as you would yourself but remember they are much smaller than you.

A simple way to reduce your pet’s weight would be to increase their exercise whether this is by the length of the walk of maybe adding an extra walk in. This will help keep their heart healthy and lose weight. A good way to ensure these extra walks happen is to get the whole family involved and share the exercise. Dogs love the outdoors for all the different smells they can enjoy so give them as much off lead exercise as possible as running will increase their heart rate which leads to weight loss and it will also keep them happy and healthy fighting off any obesity related conditions which are easily preventable.

Elaine Pendlebury, a senior veterinary surgeon at the PDSA, acknowledges the extent of the problem. “Pet obesity poses not only major health risks such as diabetes, arthritis and heart disease,” she explained. “But sadly also means daily misery for millions of pets who are feeling the strain from carrying too much weight.”

We have several tips on how to help your dog lose weight or to prevent your dog gaining weight. Our main tip is to think of their diet how you would think of yours; have set meal times, this will also make your dog happier as they love a routine. Avoid feeding your dog just before bed, feeding them earlier means they have time to burn it off. Think about the meals you give to your dog, choose lean meat where possible and read all labels of snacks. Avoid offering leftovers or any of your food to your dog, if your dog is used to this then they may pester but persist with it and it will get easier.

Control the portions you give to your dog, if you have different dog breeds alter each of their meals accordingly. And finally ensure they get an adequate amount of daily exercise, it’s great for them and for you. If you need any more help with your dogs diet or have any worries then also consult your vet.