If you’re anything like us, you’ll probably need a bit of encouragement to keep it us as we get into February!But it’s not just us humans who are getting fatter. A recent study revealed that one in five dogs in Britain are now overweight.Carrying excessive weight can lead to all kinds of health problems for your dog – from damaged joints to heart problems and diabetes.
So we’ve put together some top tips for keeping your four-legged friend in tip-top condition.
- Get into good food habits
- Feed your dog at least once a day, ideally twice a day, as they digest their food more efficiently that way
- Commercial foods contain all the nutrients your dog needs. Use the amounts recommended on the packaging, but note of how much she eats. If she is not finishing it in one go, you’re probably offering too much.
- Try to steer clear of any commercial foods containing wheat or cereals (hypoallergenic), meal, protein, derivatives and SUGARS added to foods. Sugars will not help with weight.
- Remember to adjust your dog’s diet depending on how active he is. Just like us, a dog that enjoys regular long walks will need more food than a lap dog.
- Keep it simple. Dogs like consistency rather than variety so its better to choose one type of food and stick to it. If you do want to make changes, do so gradually.
- Don’t give your dogs treats from the table while you are eating. Dogs don’t need as much food as we do and snacking on ‘human food’ can add weight very quickly. Keep your dog in another room while you’re eating and avoid letting them ‘hoover up’ spilled and leftover food from little ones.
- Ideally give low fat, healthy alternatives to the treats you usually give. Most companies do low-fat versions. Or carrots make a great low fat, natural treat!
- Start as you mean to go on. Overweight puppies are likely to become overweight dogs… Start good habits early by feeding your pup the minimum recommended amount of food and not ‘spoiling’ her with treats.
- Keep an eye on your dog’s weight
- Keep your dog’s weight in check by monitoring his body shape.
- You should easily be able to feel his ribs and spine – but not necessarily see them.
- He should have a waist when viewed from above
- His tummy should be raised, not sagging down when viewed from the side.
- Check the poo! If your dog is eating the right amount, she should produce firm, dark brown, crinkly stools. If the stools are firm, but get softer towards the end, this is a classic sign of overfeeding
- Take action
If you’re concerned about your dog’s weight, see your vet. If she needs to lose weight, they can recommend a special calorie controlled diet.