Just like us, it’s easy for dogs to put on weight and just like us, it’s not so easy to lose. It’s sometimes hard to know the best dog food to choose and also to know how much your dog is eating every day unless you measure it out precisely and treats are especially hard to keep track of. We reward our dogs for coming back in the park, for looking cute in our favourite dog-friendly cafes or restaurants on a gourmet getaway or looking sad or bored. And what pet parent hasn’t on occasion offered up some tasty morsels from their plate to their doe-eyed dog looking up expectantly?
In a recent report by the PDSA we were shocked to learn that 78% of UK vets had seen an increase in pet obesity in the past 2 years, with 86% of dog parents unaware their dog was overweight. This has now become the No.1 welfare concern of vets in this country. For just like humans if your dog is overweight it will dramatically impact its life expectancy.
Obesity in dogs leads to life-long and life-threatening illnesses such as cardiovascular and respiratory problems, diabetes, arthritis and cancer. Not only that – daily activities are also more challenging for overweight dogs who tend to be less active, more lethargic and prone to heat stroke in hot weather.
The number one risk is that you will get less time with your beloved four-legged friend than you should. Research from the American Veterinary Medical Association found that an overweight dog’s lifespan is typically 2.5 years shorter, on average, than the lifespan of a dog with healthy weight.
However, the good news is that dog obesity is entirely preventable and by giving your dog the correct amount of dog food for their age, size, condition and weight you can prolong their life significantly and avoid the pain and misery of obesity-related health conditions.
According to The Kennel Club, signs that your dog is overweight include owners struggling to see or feel their dog’s ribs, spine or waistline, abdominal sagging, a bigger, rounder face, a reluctance to go for walks or lagging behind and excessive panting. PDSA has a great guide for assessing your dog here.
So how can you check if your dog is overweight?
Feel – Run your hands up and down the back of their spine feeling the ribcage. If you can feel your dog’s ribs that’s a good sign. If you can’t, then they are overweight.
Look – Stand behind and look down onto your dog’s body. A healthy dog will have a sign of a waist between their ribs and hips. Looking from a side angle the waist should also tuck up, if the belly hangs lower than the ribs they are overweight.
Weigh – Many people only weigh their dogs once a year at the annual check with their vet. Try to get into the habit of regular weigh-ins at home, simply weigh yourself, then pick up your dog and weigh again subtracting your weight then compare with breed standards.
If you think your dog is overweight, consult your vet to implement a weight reduction programme which can be done over a period of time. Once your dog has reached its ideal weight, then try to be aware of the amount they are being fed and focus on games and exercise somewhere that’s great for walkies as a reward rather than fattening treats.
Lack of exercise is also a major contributing factor to obesity in dogs. We recommend a couple of walks a day which will keep your four legged friend happy and bushy tailed. Off-lead walks are ideal where they can maintain a healthy level of activity. Why not visit a new destination such as the Lake District, Peak District or the Cotswolds known for serene open landscapes and endless walking opportunities to keep both you and your canine companion stimulated. Playing games like fetch and hide the toy at home or in an enclosed garden is also rewarding.
However, the best way possible to keep your dog on track is diet. Mark Boddy, CEO of PawSquad, recently wrote about the challenges that owners face in keeping their dogs motivated, without overfeeding them. In this article he writes about a new way of feeding our dogs which can help them keep motivated but also be mindful of their health with the help of a new dog food feeding system.
That’s why Caboodle have devised a hassle-free feeding system. It contains daily trays with everything your dog needs for each day measured out for their size and breed. This removes the guesswork and gives you more time for healthy walks, playing games and bonding time.
The trays contain already measured and perfectly combined wet and dry food with low calorie treats and chews also included. There’s a different dish for every day of the week so your dog will never get bored. And better still, their subscription boxes will automatically arrive to you every month so you will never have to deal with those half opened bags of dog food and half opened tins of dog food cluttering up your fridge and kitchen cupboards again!
Let’s work together to fight obesity in dogs!
The story behind Caboodle
Karen Hanton MBE and Simon Arkwright, created the company out of a mutual passion for dogs, their food and wellbeing to create Caboodle. Gillian is founder of The Dog House Trading Company, creators of a superlative range of dog biscuits and training treats and for 20 years was also the force behind The Dog House in Wales – one of the UK’s leading dog training and education centres. Karen is co-founder of PetsPyjamas, Europe’s number one dog friendly travel company and Simon is an innovation and customer insight expert having worked with consumer giants such as Nestle, Heinz, Unilever and GSK.
Your exclusive PetsPyjamas offer
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You can start by taking the quiz to help find exactly the right Caboodle for your dog here.
Caboodle is perfect for anyone who wants to make sure their dog has complete and balanced nutrition from dog food created with quality ingredients in the UK and Europe, and is suitable for dogs weighing between 6 – 16 kg.