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Weight Watchers

Keeping your pet in tip top condition

Did you know that 1 in 3 pets in the UK are overweight or obese?* Many of us don’t realize that our dog is overweight, because the weight gain is easy to overlook as it often takes place gradually over time. Even though it’s happening right in front of you, a few ounces here and there might not be immediately noticeable. However, they can really add up to some serious health issues.

Why being overweight matters:

Even if you’ve noticed your dog is carrying a few extra pounds, you may not be aware how much it can affect his health. Being as little as 20% overweight can greatly increase the risk of your dog developing serious health conditions such as diabetes mellitus, osteoarthritis, urinary stones or heart disease.

Plus, excess weight can not only have a negative impact on your dog’s general wellbeing, happiness and overall quality of life, it can also significantly shorten his life expectancy compared to a healthy-weight pet.

Is my dog overweight?

Your dog may look just fine to you, but ideal weight varies by size and breed. Your veterinarian will be able to tell you what your dog’s ideal weight is. Between check-ups, you can still assess if your dog is maintaining a healthy weight. Place your hand on his side, and if his ribs are hard to feel or even impossible to feel, he’s likely overweight.

Here are some other signs of obesity you may notice:

  • Loss of an obvious waist
  • Collar needs loosening
  • Difficulty in walking
  • Slow movement
  • Shortness of breath
  • Bad temper
  • Sleeping more than usual

What causes weight gain in dogs?

Weight gain is the result of an increase in body fat. This is usually caused by eating too much, especially when combined with lack of exercise. But there can be other contributing factors, too.

Older dogs are less active, have less energy, and require fewer calories, which is why nutrition formulated for his age is vital to his weight and overall health.

Some dog breeds are more likely to gain weight

Clinical studies have shown that the basic metabolism of neutered dogs is lower, and they require few calories

Medical Problems 
Very occasionally weight gain is associated with a medical disorder that may require specific treatment

Dogs with unlimited access to food understandably eat more than they need — this includes table scraps from family members

Many commercial foods are loaded with salt and fat, which can improve taste but make your dog want to gorge

Exercising with your dog

As well as feeding your dog the correct nutrition, promoting regular exercise will help the process of healthy weight loss. Here are a few workout tips for exercises you and your dog can do together:

  • Power dog walks with intervals Take your dog for a walk on a leash. Throughout the walk, mix in some intervals of jogging, running or high stepping to help increase your heart rate and burn calories for both you and your dog
  • Dog squat tease Stand with your legs spread shoulder width in preparation to do a leg squat. As you descend, tap your dog with his favourite toy. As you rise, lift the toy above your head to encourage your dog to jump after it. This can be done in your home and outside as well.
  • Dog tag Just like you did with your friends as a kid, play tag with your dog at your local dog park, in your backyard or even inside your house. You’ll both get a great cardio workout as your dog tries to chase you down.