Just like humans, dogs can quite easily become overweight too which can come with a whole host of health problems. For our four-legged friends, being overweight could exacerbate existing conditions or cause new ones so whilst we recommend preventing them from gaining too much weight in the first place, we’ve put together this handy guide to help you recognise weight gain in your pet and what to do about it.
How do you know when your dog is overweight?
Your dog’s ideal weight will entirely depend on its size and breed, for this we recommend you ask your vet to find the right weight and monitor them from when they first become a part of the family. At home you can gauge other signs in day to day life, is your dog napping more or excessively panting during exercise? You should be able to feel their ribs without a layer of thick fat and their chest should be wider than their belly with a noticeable dip from chest to stomach. But to be clear on everything you should always check in with your vet.
How is their weight affecting their health?
The dangers of an overweight dog are too important to ignore, with excess weight making diabetes, joint problems, respiratory, heart and kidney disease, arthritis, skin conditions and a shorter life span all possible. Obesity affects the entire body and can greatly change your dog's quality of life, which is heartbreaking when all these major health issues could have been combated years earlier with some lifestyle changes for the animal.
According to a study at the University of Liverpool, obesity in dogs could take up to two years off of their lives. So as weight gain is easier to prevent than treat, if you are already noticing a few extra pounds on your pooch then there is still time to make changes and maximise their future…
How can I help my dog lose weight?
Similar to a human diet you need to make changes to your pet’s lifestyle rather than quick daddy diets. This is because you need to introduce adjustments that help them reach a healthier weight that can be maintained. Before implementing any changes to your dog’s diet or exercise please talk to your vet in order to create the best and safest plan for your pooch.
Exercise is important to all dogs physical and mental health, and lack of it could be contributing to their weight gain. Longer walks and more playtime will not only improve the health of your pet but will increase their mood and promote your relationship. Improving their mental well-being at the same time.
If your dog is overweight then they are probably eating more than they need, be it at meal times or from too many treats or grazing throughout the day. Before you make any changes to your dog’s diet consult your vet but the ideal response will be portion control. Once you understand the right amount of food and nutrition your dog requires you will be able to slowly change their intake in order to promote weight loss. Establishing meal times will also help your dog's eating habits, creating meal times and ensuring they get their required nutrients rather than letting them graze throughout the day.
Stay strong and together
We know it is difficult to say no to our adorable four-legged friends sometimes, especially when treats make them so happy. But as a household, you need to remain strong together and remember that in the long run, you are harming your dog if you do not help them lose weight. Your dog will not love you any less if you feed them fewer treats or scraps from the table so try not to feel guilty. Why not try to replace those moments with fun play or exercise?
Work with your vet to find out the best work out plan for your pooch. They can help you do regular weigh-ins, keep you motivated and understand how food, exercise and supplements can help your dog maintain a healthy weight. Your vet will also be able to support you if you are having difficulty with a weight loss plan because just like humans every dog loses weight differently.
Maintaining a healthy life
An overweight dog isn’t healthy or happy so whether you are about to start a weight loss plan for your dog, are in the midst of trying or are just aiming to be preventative then we at YuMOVE are here to help. By making better choices for your four-legged friend through nutritional food, regular exercise and the right joint supplements they will be able to lead a long and happy life.For more information on how we can help you keep your dog happy and healthy check out our guides section. Or get moving with our fun and creative ways to exercise your dog indoors.