Managing your dog’s weight
Has your dog been getting too many treats and oversized portions lately? Managing your dog’s weight is extremely important when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle for your pet.
Research shows that two thirds of dogs are overweight and the role of nutrition plays a vital part in ensuring your dog stays healthy and that their weight is managed. As PAWrents, it is important for you keep an eye on your dog’s weight and monitor the daily intake of food. A dog will mostly always eat all of what you put in front of them.
The health risks associated with obesity in dogs can be serious. They can include: damage to joints and bones, heart disease, hypertension, difficulty breathing, decreased stamina, heat intolerance, decreased liver function, and decreased quality and length of life. You can check our dog weight management chart to see what bracket your dog falls into.
The first step to managing your dog’s weight is knowing how much you are feeding them. Always measure your dogs food at every meal. That way, you know how much to feed in order to reduce their intake if required.
Keep track of snacks and treats, and reduce those too when your dog needs to decrease on the calories. Just like people, dogs lose weight by consuming fewer calories than they burn. Therefore, to lose weight, a dog needs to eat less and exercise more.
What causes weight gain?
Weight gain is generally caused by too many calories eaten and not enough used up. Older dogs that are less active – sometimes due to health issues like arthritis – are more likely to gain weight, and may need changes to their diet to reflect their lifestyle.
Certain larger breeds are more likely to overeat, (golden retrievers, labradors, basset hounds and Rottweilers) and are prone to weight gain.
Signs that might tell you that your dog is overweight
-You need to loosen your dog’s collar
-You can no longer see your dog’s waist or feel their ribs
-Their tummy hangs down when they are standing
-They have trouble walking
-They move more slowly than they used to
-They regularly become short of breath, and pant more than they used to
-They have become bad tempered
-They sleep more than usual
Ask the Experts
A dogs’ weight can be a tricky one because no two dogs are the same; if you are worried, it is always worthwhile contacting your vet. They will be able to determine whether your dog is overweight, and to offer the best dietary and exercise.