Are you loving your dog to death? In this blog we’ll provide weight loss tips for dogs and information on how to tell if your dog is overweight.
We can safely say that anyone reading this blog is a dog lover. We know how much our clients love their dogs, and anyone following our page to love on other people’s dogs can definitely claim that title. But, are you loving your dog just a bit too much?
Society as a whole has become so used to seeing overweight dogs that unless a dog is incredibly obese, we will often turn a blind eye. Fit and healthy dogs are often labelled as ‘starving’ or underweight. Even more concerningly, we often hear that vets have told owners that their dogs weight is fine.
We see our overweight dogs struggle to keep up with their friends, sometimes even on cool days. They pull up sore after activity, tend to rest instead of socialising and are at high risk of heat stroke in warmer weather. During grooming they struggle to stand and will often have joint issues.
So how can I tell if my dog is overweight?
- Dogs should have a waist you can see when standing above them;
- You should be able to see their last two ribs (short coated dogs);
- Can you easily feel their ribs when running your hands down their body?;
- Does your dog have a waist tuck underneath.
There are many reasons that dogs can become overweight including age, decreased activity levels, increase in snacks, illness and just plain old eating too much food. Just like with humans, the quality of the food also plays a huge part in keeping your dog trim and healthy.
So what can I do to help my dog lose weight?
- Increase exercise slowly, even just a daily walk around the block will help. Swimming is also great for dogs carrying less weight as it takes strain off the joints.
- Cut their food down by a quarter or half. Adding things like grated carrot and vegetables will help the dog feel a bit less ripped off if they are used to big meals;
- If you feed your dog dry food (kibble), check the ingredient panel. Many dry foods are full of fillers that are very high in carbohydrates. You don’t need an expensive diet kibble, just feed less and more fresh food.
- Add as much fresh food such as raw meat, vegetables and fruit as possible. You don’t have to go all out straight away, start with a quarter of the meal, then half and just keep increasing it.
- Companies such as Chefs and Dogs provide nutritionally balanced prepared meals, or you can buy bones and raw meat, and natural and healthy treats and supplements that you can add to your dogs kibble to help you enrich it.
- Remove any carb heavy foods such as rice or pasta from the diet.
- Remove commercial treats such as Dentastix and Greenies from your dogs diet. These are the worst culprits and even include refined sugar to make their chemical load more palatable – yuk! We recommend the natural treats that we sell instore from Chefs and Dogs or just cut up your own apples and carrots. Frozen Greek yoghurt and berries, mince and sardines in a kong is a perfect special treat.
- And don’t forget, if you are training your dog or adding in treats you need to feed less in meals!
What do I do now?
Its never too late to start, your dog will thank you for it. If you need help feel free to ask our staff or we recommend checking out:
- Chefs and Dogs (local business providing fresh raw meals, treats and supplements for dogs)
- Fresh Food Feeding for Dogs (Kibble Feeders Welcome) Facebook Group