81% of vets have seen an increase in levels of pet obesity in the UK in the past two years according to a recent report from the PDSA. The main cause of this is thought to be dogs getting too much food, either at mealtimes or treats through the day. The same report found that a quarter of a million dogs in the UK don’t get a daily walk.
It can be difficult to assess whether your dog needs to lose weight. There are often some tell-tale signs like coats or collars not fitting well, a bit more stomach on view when they lie down and squeezing through gaps they’ve managed easily before. However, assessing body condition and weight is the best way to monitor this and see how much they need to lose to get back on track. If you’d like some help on how best to do this, read our blog article on body condition (October 19th 2015).
If you find your dog has only gained a small amount there are some things you can try at home:
- Cutting out treats and replacing them with vegetables and low fat versions or home made recipes where you can keep the fat levels low.
- Put together a daily walking programme that the whole family or friends can take part in to help out on busy days.
- Keep measuring your dog’s food every day (either weigh it or try our Perfect Portion Scoop) and try to keep track of his weight every month.
But if he needs to lose more than a few pounds, he’ll need a bit more help, in particular a weight reduction dietary regime and cutting back on calories and fat. At tails.com we try to make this as easy as possible by reducing their daily allowance automatically when you update your dog’s status to overweight or obese and by including any wet food or treats you might give him daily. As he loses weight over time, any update to his profile will also update how much to feed him.
It’s important not to rush into a weight loss regime as dogs don’t know they need to lose weight so a drastic change is likely to cause some disturbing behaviours like scavenging, begging and running off. If you can make each change gradual, your dog is less likely to notice and you can see what changes are having the best effect.