The new year is well and truly underway, with most of us here having made some sort of resolution to be a little more healthy. Can that be said of our dogs. They are not in control of their diets and obviously rely upon us to monitor and maintain a healthy food option for them. Our dogs will eat nearly most things we put in front of them, whether this is at their allotted meal times, or as a treat. According to PAW report, 48% of us give our dogs a treat because we think it makes them happy. If the giving of treats is done in an ad hoc manner, the calorific intake of our dogs will be much higher; coupled with a lack of or reduced exercise regime, just like us, our dogs will slowly put on weight.
Some health issues may also contribute to your dog being obese: Hypothyroidism – this is an under active thyroid gland that reduces the metabolic rate causing the dog to become lethargic. Musculoskeletal problems such as arthritis, ligament strain can reduce your dogs ability to partake in regular exercise. Cushings disease, a hormonal disorder which causes the body to overproduce natural steroids which stimulate the appetite. Steroid medication may also contribute to an increased appetite.
So, how can we keep our dogs healthier. Well, just like looking at our own lifestyle, we need to do the same for our dogs. Providing them with a balanced diet and a regular exercise regime. It has been said that every hour a dog is exercised each week reduces the odds on them becoming obese.
Dieting tips: firstly if your dog is losing or gaining weight rapidly, please visit your vets to get him checked out. If necessary your vet can advise you on the right diet and exercise refine.
- If you still like to give your dog treats, then make them up from his daily allowance, or provide him with boiled/raw vegetables.
- Divide his daily allowance into several smaller portions and offer that to him throughout the day.
- If your dog is on a wet food diet, bulk it out with vegetables rather than mixer biscuits
Ideal dog shape
When looking at your dog from above, there should be a narrowing between the end of the rib cage and hips, giving him a “waist”
Looking at your dogs profile, the line of the under carriage should curve from the end of the ribs to the groin
When stroking your dog along his flanks, you should be able to feel each rib, but they should not be prominent.
So, if you’ve not yet made a New Years Resolution, why not do so now and make it a healthy one for both you and your dog.