Keeping your dog's weight in the right range for their breed is incredibly important for their health. But, much like humans, they too can pile on the pounds by over-indulging and not exercising enough.
Recent studies have highlighted the health risks associated with pets carrying excess weight, making it more important than ever to ensure our pets stay fit.
Experts at pet food company, Canagan, have shared their advice on how to manage your dog's weight (below) and how to identify whether they are over or underweight.
A dog's correct weight depends entirely on the breed so it's important to do your own research to determine what is 'healthy' for them. But there are some key visual indicators that are worth considering, including their ribs and backbone – are they visible? This could be a sign your dog is dangerously underweight.
What if you can you barely see their rib cage at all? This could be an indication that your dog is overweight. While there are some medical issues that could cause bloating in your pup, it's always best to head to your local vet if you are unsure.
Does your dog have a large/bloated looking stomach that hangs too low? This is another sign that they may be carrying a few too many pounds.
5 ways to control your dog's weight
1. Prevention: Some dog breeds have a higher chance of putting on weight compared to others, but there are many simple ways to help them lose weight. Similar to humans, a dog carrying too much weight can result in hip problems later in life. The experts explain: "Prevention is better than cure so if your dog's breed is known to have joint issues, look for food that has joint care as a particular benefit."
2. Book an appointment at the vet: It's always best to book an appointment at the vet before you embark on a diet or new exercise regime for your pup.
3. Up the exercise: A simple — and cost-effective — way to help your pup lose weight is to get them to exercise a bit more. Even by adding 10 minutes of walking a day could really see their health improve.
4. Feed based on target weight: This might seem like another simple one, but it's recommended you should feed the right amount for what your dog should weigh, not what they do weigh. Ensure you are feeding them the right portion size.
5. Banish constant snacking: Much like us humans, dogs love treats — and lots of them. Constant snacking will of course pile on the pounds, so if your pup needs to lose some weight keep an eye on what you feed them. "If your dog eats dry food, when weighing out their daily portion, set aside some pieces for treats throughout the day. This way, they still feel as if they’re being treated, but they’re not eating extra calories," explain the experts.
What is the best food for maintaining a dog's weight?
If your dog needs to lose weight, some of the vital things to consider include...
1. Cutting out bad carbohydrates (grains all contain high levels of carbohydrates, so opting for something like sweet potato is much better)
2. Keep a note of your dog's weight to monitor their progress
3. Opting for a grain-free diet can help them to lose weight (we recommend always heading to your local vet first)
How do you stop your dog begging for food?
It can often be hard to say no when your dog uses puppy eyes to get something they want. The experts at Canagan explain you could try...
- Use toys as a treat: "Instead of giving your dog human food as a treat, use their favourite toy instead. This will help them disassociate the food on your plate as a tasty snack."
- Keep them out of the room when you're eating: "When you have a meal, the smells can overwhelm a dog's sensitive sense of smell, and we all know there’s nothing worse than smelling some delicious food that you can’t have. This will also deter people from feeding your dog from the table and will get rid of their opportunity to beg."
- Break up their meal times: "If you're only feeding your dog once a day, consider breaking this up into two or three separate meals, but make sure you’re still only feeding them the same amount across the day. If you time one of these with your own meals, your dog's focus is much more likely to be on their own bowl instead of what’s on your plate."
Like this article? Sign up to our newsletter to get more articles like this delivered straight to your inbox.
You Might Also Like