VET’S VIEW: Make sure your dog maintains a healthy weight

DID you know obesity in the UK is as much of a problem among our pets as in people?

Thursday, 25th July 2013, 12:00 pm

Sadly, canine obesity is now the most common nutritional disorder seen in dogs – caused by more energy being taken in than used, leading to persistent and potentially life-threatening energy surplus.

This excess energy is stored mainly as fat, but other contributing factors include age, sex, reproductive status, inactivity, genetics, food intake, highly palatable diet, treats, environment, lifestyle, and underlying diseases stopping exercise causing weight gain.

Signs of obesity include struggling feeling your dog’s ribs, spine or waistline, to abdominal sagging or a bigger, rounder face.

Fat dogs, commonly reluctant to exercise, often lag behind, panting, appearing tired and lazy.

Prevent canine obesity by avoiding scraps or leftovers, always checking feeding guides, weighing out recommended amounts, and ensure every family member has clear instructions, too.

Remember, when introducing a new food, do it slowly over a few days.

It’s vital dogs maintain healthy weight, as obesity can commonly result in diabetes, heart disease and arthritis.

If you suspect your dog’s overweight, please make an appointment with your vet ASAP, as there are several things you can do to help.

By gradually changing feeding habits, increasing exercise, looking closely at food type/intake, and developing a feeding plan, including regular vet visits for free weight checks to record progress.

High-protein, high-fibre but low-fat diets are typically recommended for weight loss, giving dogs the feeling of being full with more energy.

You’ll soon notice that when your pet loses weight, it will be happier and keener to exercise.

Why not start right away by replacing fatty treats with raw carrot sticks? Or take up agility?

For more advice about canine obesity and how to safely help your pet lose weight, call Grove Lodge Vets on 01903 234866.