Posted 13th Apr 2017
Pet obesity is a growing problem, and something which can lead to serious problems. Eukanuba has some handy hints to help you keep your pet's weight down
Just as it is with us, pets can put on weight if they eat more calories than they burn, don’t exercise enough, their metabolism slows, or they indulge in too many treats, therefore increasing the risk of conditions such as osteoarthritis, hypertension, diabetes and some forms of cancer, as well as reducing life expectancy.
The number of overweight and obese pets continues to rise in the UK, with almost 45% of pets treated by veterinarians considered to be overweight. This isn’t surprising as over 5.9 million pets are given treats as part of their daily diet, including crisps, cake, leftovers of human food, cheese, chips and takeaways which not only causes weight gain but can also be detrimental to their health.
At Eukanuba, we understand the problems associated with pet obesity which is why we recommend that you don’t feed your pet human food. Although the constant puppy dog eyes may seem as though they really want to eat what you have on your plate, pets are like children and they need guidance from you on what they should and shouldn’t eat.
However, if you’re worried your pet is carrying a little more weight than they should there are some simple measures you can take to help get them back on track…
Check their weight
Almost half of owners don’t know how much their pet weights2 but you can easily check by popping them on to your bathroom scales or giving them a quick feel. Place your hands on either side of your dog’s rib cage and carefully run your palms along. If the ribs are protruding your dog is too thin. If you can feel the ribs individually and their abdomen is slightly tucked up when you look at them your dog is a good weight. If you can’t discern their ribs easily and they lacks a waist and their belly drags then you need to…
…Speak to your Vet
Whatever your dog’s age, if you think your canine companion may be overweight, speak to a vet or vet nurse as they will be able to identify your dog’s ideal body weight and provide them with a feeding plan to help them lose any extra pounds safely. They will also give you guidance on safe exercise suited to both your dog’s needs and your lifestyle.
Keep your dog fit and healthy
Make sure you keep your dog nice and trim. Regular exercise and a high quality diet will ensure your dog remains as close to an ideal weight and body condition as possible. Feed according to their optimal body weight and the manufacturers feeding guidelines, but keep in mind that these are just guidelines and your pet’s energy requirements are unique. Try not to over feed treats and titbits, and instead opt for healthy lower calorie treats where possible, such as Eukanuba Healthy Biscuits or Eukanuba Restricted Calorie Rewards.
Review their food
There are some times in a dog’s life when weight gain becomes more common, such as later in life or after neutering. Keep in mind that typically from the age of 7 years many dogs begin to show signs of middle age spread. For this reason we recommend changing to a lower energy diet such as Eukanuba Mature & Senior to help prevent weight gain during a dogs ‘more mature’ years whilst supporting healthy joints. In addition, our Mature & Senior nutrition helps to promote strong teeth, healthy gums and fresh breath through Eukanuba’s unique 3D DentaDefense offering visible benefits with a lifelong impact.
Don’t forget, just like it is for our own weight, the secret to having a healthy dog is maintaining good nutrition and an active lifestyle. Of course we mustn’t forget about genetics as they play an important role but it’s important to realise that as a pet owner, you really can make a huge difference with diet, exercise, appropriate care and good veterinary care.
We discovered the impact of feeding dogs Eukanuba, along with appropriate care, over a 10+ year observation of a group of 39 very special Labrador Retrievers. Almost all of the dogs (90%3) fed Eukanuba, together with appropriate care, lived beyond the breed’s typical twelve years life expectancy, some of them living to 17 years old and one living just a few short weeks from his 18th birthday – that’s an additional 6 years longer. Importantly these Labradors were all in great shape and were fed to maintain a healthy bodyweight.