Tackling obesity in dogs
Obesity is becoming a serious problem in the UK. Not only are our waistlines expanding, but so too are those of our pets. Dog obesity is now causing vets real concern, as they see more overweight pets waddling into surgeries with a range of health issues that could easily be avoided if the animal’s dietary requirements had been more closely monitored.
Certain breeds are prone to obesity – Labradors, spaniels and Golden Retrievers can often become overweight in later years. These active breeds need plenty of exercise as well as a healthy, balanced diet if they are to avoid piling on the pounds. Unfortunately, obesity can lead to some far more serious conditions such as heart disease, joint and respiratory problems (again, just as in humans), so it is important to tackle the signs of obesity as early as possible to ensure your dog has a long, active and happy life.
Choosing the right diet
Whereas cats tend to regulate their food intake quite naturally, dogs are happy to accept titbits and treats all day long. So cutting out the table scraps and resisting that ‘puppy dog eyes’ pleading look every time your dog wants a treat is important. Specialist dog food suppliers such as Pro Plan, Arden Grange and James Wellbeloved all produce healthy products that can help kick-start your dog’s diet. Their blends of essential vitamins, minerals and fatty acids are carefully regulated to keep the appeal and taste factors high, but calorie counts low.
Increasing the levels of activity is also essential to burn off excess fat, but ensure that very overweight dogs, as with overweight humans, begin any exercise programme slowly and at a rate that is not going to put undue pressure on their joints. It is always advisable to talk to your vet to plan a diet and exercise routine that will help reduce your dog’s weight without impacting on their wellbeing.