If you suspect your dog is overweight, you’re not alone. Dog weight loss is quickly becoming a hot button issue that’s affecting more and more owners. Sadly, nearly 60% of dogs in the UK are now overweight, and it seems that most owners have no idea their dogs are carrying more pounds than they should be. In fact, it’s becoming really hard for owners to know what a healthy weight looks like. That’s where we can help.
What Can Lead to Weight Gain in Dogs?
There could be a number of reasons for doggy weight gain. Just like humans, dogs gain weight when they eat more than they should and don’t exercise enough. Despite new trends in lockdown walks, home workouts, and attempts to get that furlough bod, many of us have been taking less care of ourselves than we normally would. Even though we’ve been spending more time with our pets, it seems we’ve also been losing track of their eating and exercise habits too.
Here’s what can lead to weight gain in our pets:
· High fat in foods or treats
· High fat in dog chews
· Not enough exercise
· Food too high in protein
How to Tell if Your Dog is Overweight
Every dog is different and what might be the right weight for one might not be the same for another. Even within the same litter, there can be so many differences. Luckily, there’s a simple trick for checking whether or not your dog is overweight. All you have to do is run your hand along your dog’s ribs, which should feel similar to the small layer of fat you have on your knuckle when flat. You should be able to feel all of your dog’s ribs, and if you can’t, there’s a chance it could be because there’s a layer of fat in the way. If you have to push and prod to feel their ribs, then your dog probably needs to lose weight. Remember to always consult your vet if you’re unsure.
If your dog is overweight, the number one rule is never to ignore it. Just like humans, a dog carrying a little too much weight can have health issues such as arthritis, breathing problems, heart problems, and diabetes.
What To Do if your Dog is Overweight
Small changes can make a big difference! There are a number of ways you can make a huge difference to your dog’s health and maybe your own too. Here’s our top tips for achieving those doggy weight loss results:
· Measure Their Food
The first thing you should do is check the amount of food you’re giving your dog. Most pet food companies have a scale to show exactly how much food you should be feeding your dog daily, such as the one that accompanies our Original Chicken and Rice Dog Food, but these will be different for each company and depend largely on how many nutrients are in the food. If you measure the amount you’re giving your dog according to these recommendations, you’d be able to avoid any overfeeding.
· Consider a Dog Weight Loss Food
If your dog isn’t satisfied after a food reduction or needs to lose a lot of weight in the healthiest way possible, it might be time to consider food that has been specially created for doggy weight loss. Burns Weight Control Range is a low calorie, high satisfaction, healthy weight loss management food that has been developed by veterinary surgeon John Burns to fill hungry dogs and aid weight loss. Pair these with our filling, low-calorie Oatie Bite treats for extra satisfaction without the calorie overkill.
· Get Them Exercising
In 2019, only around 60% of people in the UK did any physical activity. So, it doesn’t take a genius to work out that our pets are probably more sedentary than they should be. It’s important for all of us to move as much as possible, and this goes for our pets too. Take a walk, or a run, climb the stairs or play fetch to get them moving. If your dog is too overweight to get very far, try taking a small walk around the garden, and once they can manage it, extend their walk by a little bit each day.
· Monitor Their Weight Loss
If you’re trying to make sure your dog loses weight, it’s probably a good idea to keep track of their progress. Don’t worry, we don’t want you to announce their weight to the world on a big screen like The Biggest Loser, or body shame your podgy pooch by getting the dogs in the neighbourhood round to gawp at them on the scales, but it would be a good idea to see whether or not your hard work is paying off.
To Treat or Not To Treat
If you’re going to be giving your dog treats, make sure you also give them a little less food. Although little treats tend to be high in fat and calories, some treats could also be high in sugar and protein, which mounts up. Does your dog love chews? Did you know that one medium chew can equate to around 20 grams of food a day? If you’re going to give them a chew, make sure you account for the extra calories too.
How to Treat Your Dog Without The Extra Calories
If your dog is a little on the CHONKY side, then they probably love a good treat or two, in some cases three. If they need to lose weight, consider giving them vegetables as a treat instead. Carrots, green beans, cauliflower, cucumber, broccoli, and courgettes can be fed raw or cooked and are a great healthy alternative to high fat treats. Another great way to treat your dog is simply to provide them with extra attention and playtime. This is a great way to reward them without the extra calories, and most dogs would take attention over a pink pupcake any day.
Find a Support Group
Yes, we’re serious. Dog obesity is becoming a huge problem and a lot of us have no idea how to deal with it, let alone decipher all of the information out there. Why not find a supportive group where you can get free support and advice from a team of nutritional advisors. Luckily, Burns has a great support group for caring owners just like you. Check out the free Hounds Dropping Pounds Facebook support group.