Is Your dog overweight and how to tackle it

Is Your dog overweight and how to tackle it

Try and deal with weight gain early in life

Chubby puppies are so cute, aren’t they?  However, what happens if your chubby puppy progresses into a chubby adult dog.  

As in adults, a dog that is overweight may face health challenges, such as types of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, osteoarthritis and joint problems.  There are many ways in which you can help your dog live a happy and healthy life.

The easiest way to determine whether your dog is overweight is to weigh them.  Most vets will allow you to weigh your dog when visiting.  The vet can advise whether your dog is overweight for the breed type and size and whether the dog is the appropriate shape for the breed.  

Vets use a body condition scoring method to establish if your dog is indeed overweight.  A dog would generally be overweight at 15 to 20% over the ideal weight and obese at more than 30% over.  

Other ways to identify if your dog has a weight problem include signs of lethargy, a reluctance to go out for a walk or play, lagging behind on a walk, a sagging tummy, panting if you can’t see or feel the ribs, spine or waist.

There are factors which contribute to obesity which, are not always food-related.  These include age, sex, inactivity, reproductive status, inactivity, environment, underlying conditions.  Indeed, some breeds are more prone to obesity so that genetics may play a part too, and un-neutered dogs often weight less than a neutered dog of the same breed.

Establishing if your dog is obese/overweight is the first step and always consult your vet.  Increasing exercise may not be helpful in isolation, although it is always a great start, ask your vet as well in case of any underlying health issues.  Vets often run healthy weight clinics too, Slimming World for dogs. 

If your dog is overweight, and after consulting your vet, you may want to consider the following:

  • Changing feeding habits, increase activity by taking long walks or take up a doggy activity – agility, for example.  
  • Review the food they are eating and produce an eating plan.
  • Make regular visits to the vet to “weigh-in.”
  • Try not to feed too late in the day, as dogs do not burn as many calories when sleeping.
  • Divide their daily food intake into several smaller amounts during the day
  • Food high in protein, low in fat, high in fibre would be recommended for weight loss.  These foods give the dog a feeling of being full and increase energy too.  Check the ingredients on the dog food packaging.
  • Do not feed scraps
  • Only give the recommended amount of food as described on the feeding instruction on your dog food pack.
  • If you have changed to feeding a quality higher meat food, such as Ooddles,  you feed less,   so maybe you have not made the changes and are actually overfeeding your dog. So check the feeding charts on any new food you change to.

You may also find once your dog is spayed or castrated it gains weight, we recommend you reduce your normal feeding by 10% 2 weeks after the procedure.

We hope you find this useful, always consult your vet if you have any concerns.