We all want what's best for our dogs, but sometimes spoiling them can be dangerous. Instead of treats, we can reward them in other ways, thus avoiding obesity and keeping our four-legged family members happy and healthy for longer.
A lot of human foods are harmful to dogs and being overweight can lead to a number of health problems, such as arthritis, heart disease, skin disease, mammary tumours and difficulty in controlling body temperature. According to statistics from the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association, three-quarters of pets seen by vets are over their ideal weight. Last year, the PDSA Paw Report 2016 estimated that by the year 2020 obese animals would be more common than healthy ones.
A dog's diet should include varying levels of carbohydrates, fats and proteins, combined with daily exercise. If you think your dog may be overweight, speak to your vet about your concerns and what you can do to help.
Tips to start the year
Use the New Year as a time to review your dog's diet and lifestyle. David Morgan, Veterinary Training Manager at Eukanuba, has provided some tips to get you started.
- Feed a 100% complete and balanced diet according to feeding guidelines and your dog’s individual metabolic needs. Also consider the nutrition needed for your dog's specific lifestage to support them from puppy all the way to their senior years.
- Don’t forget that how many times a day you feed doesn’t matter – just don’t feed any more than the required amount. Many pets need far fewer calories than most of us think - as little as 185-370 per day for a small, inactive dog!
- If you think your dog needs to lose weight contact your local veterinary practice for advice and support. They will also be able to tell you about Eukanuba’s Veterinary Weight Loss Diet which will help your dog to lose weight at a healthy but effective rate.
- Exercise your dog every single day, taking great care not to do too much if your dog is carrying surplus weight as this puts pressure on joints. Over time mix up the exercise so that it might include long walks, sprint, and playing ball.