Is your pooch a little on the heavy side? You are not alone, lots of owners are trying to get their dogs to lose weight. Too many dogs in the UK are overweight. Some owners just don’t realise how much harm this can cause their dogs. People think that feeding their dog a lot of food and treats is kind, when in reality, feeding your dog too much is cruel.
Canine obesity is becoming a big problem in this country, which is why so many dogs are going on diets. A study by the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association (PFMA) found that nearly half of all pets in the UK are classed as obese. Trying to get your dog to shift the pounds isn’t as easy as it looks. You have to completely change the way you feed them and find ways to increase the amount of exercise they get.
A lot of owners don’t even realise that their dog is overweight in the first place, or they are in denial. The first step is to recognise that your dog is in fact an unhealthy weight and realise that something needs to be done. If your vet says your dog is overweight, then you definitely need to think about putting them on a special diet.
This is the complete guide to canine dieting, here you will find information about how to get your dog to lose weight. Obese dogs can lose around two years of their life simply because they are overweight. Don’t let this happen to your dog, start their diet today before it’s too late.
Problems that canine obesity can cause
Canine obesity can cause a wide range of different health problems. From diabetes and joint problems to difficulty breathing. Overweight dogs often have trouble getting around. Due to the extra body weight, there’s more pressure on their joints which causes them pain and discomfort.
The basics of canine dieting
The first thing you need to do is to check and record your dog’s weight on a regular basis. Weigh them every few days to see whether or not you are making any progress with their diet. You can also check their weight by looking at them, but putting them on the scales is the most accurate way to check their weight. Make sure you write down how much they weigh every time you weigh them, then you will be able to monitor any major fluctuations in their weight.
If your dog is overweight then they should go on a diet, but it needs to be gradual. You need to manage your expectations from the start, and realise that just like humans, dogs can take time to lose weight. It takes hard work and dedication, so don’t expect results immediately.
It’s also important not to dramatically cut how much food you give them on a daily basis, but to gradually decrease their portions. You should also take care with exercise, some overweight dogs cannot do intense exercise because they are too unfit. They may suffer with breathing difficulties and therefore it is not safe to suddenly make them do a huge amount of exercise. The amount of exercise they do needs to gradually be increased in consultation with your vet. You vet will tell you how to increase your dog’s exercise in a safe way.
Get all household members on board
Often owners will have no idea why their dog is putting on weight, without realising that another household member is giving them too many treats. If your dog is on a diet, then you need to get all household members on board. Make sure there are no sneaky feeders in the family. Everyone who comes into contact with your dog should be advised that they are on a diet and they are not allowed extra treats.
Choosing the right dog food
One of the most important parts of canine dieting is choosing the right food. The food your give your dog has a huge impact on their overall health and weight. Avoid dog foods that are high in cereals, this is just a filler ingredient. It will make it difficult for your dog to lose weight if their food contains a high percentage of cereals. Instead, choose a dog food that is high in protein and healthy ingredients. Click here to read our complete guide to buying dog food.
Portion control is the key to successful canine dieting. This is where many owners make mistakes. A lot of people guess how much food to give their dog, rather than measuring the correct amount. Read the manufacturer’s instructions on your dog food carefully and feed your dog the correct amount. Ask your vet how much food your dog should be having on a daily basis and follow their advice.
Exercise is obviously a big part of canine dieting. How much you feed your dog will have the most impact, but exercise also plays a vital part. Try and find additional ways to exercise as well as going on dog walks. For example, taking part in agility, playing with other dogs and going out running with your dog. Gradually increase the length of their daily walks and they should start to lose weight (provided you are feeding them the right amount).
Seek advice from your vet
If your dog is overweight, the best thing you can do is book an appointment with your vet. They will be able to determine whether or not your dog is overweight, and if they are, how much weight they need to lose. Your vet can also help you come up with a weight loss plan for your dog. They can advise you and help your dog to lose weight in a safe, healthy way.