A New Year often means a ton of health resolutions for us humans, but with more dogs than ever being diagnosed as obese why not try a fitness programme for the whole family.
Studies by the PDSA have seen the percentage of overweight dogs in the UK rise in four years from 21% to 35% – that’s over one in three dogs.
Carrying too much weight can cause serious health problems in dogs including joint problems, diabetes, heart disease and ultimately – a shorter life span.
When we rescued our boxer Harvey he was seven kilos overweight. It took a while for him to lose the excess baggage and sadly that now means at aged 10 he suffers with increasingly severe arthritis. Walks, stairs and smooth floors are getting more difficult for him and we have to be ever more vigilant with his food. Whilst dogs naturally slow down with age there’s plenty we can do as responsible pet owners to help our furry friends stay healthier for longer.
The tell-tale signs of an overweight dog: (Remember some breeds will have a much more pronounced shape than others).
a). Rib check: You should easily be able to feel, but not see, each of your dog’s ribs.
b). Hourglass check from above: Your dog should have a distinct ‘hourglass’ shape with a noticeable inward curve at their belly.
c). Abdominal ‘suck’ from the side: You should be able to clearly see an upward curve at the belly. Again this does vary from breed to breed but if your dog’s chest is the same size as its belly it is likely to be overweight.
Basic tips to help your dog lose weight
(Always consult your vet if you have any concerns over your dog’s health or intend to make drastic changes to their diet):
- Cut out all scraps. Not any. Nada. Don’t kill your dog with kindness.
- Restrict treats or find low calorie alternatives. Some commonly sold large dog treats contain a FULL DAY’S doggie allowance of calories!
- Find out your dog’s ideal weight and always follow the recommended portion size for your dog’s food
Join the Dog Walkers of Queens Park Facebook page for updates on local dog walking activities and meet ups.
- Make use of your local dog walking companies! We are slightly biased about this one, but a good dog walker can give your dog an intensive physical workout whilst exercising his social skills too.