Dog experts have reminded owners of the benefits of healthy habits and diet, as a research showed that obese dogs have shortened life spans by up to a year.
The study, conducted by tails.com, has revealed that 42% of the dogs joining their service are overweight or obese.
Last December, the dog food company asked more than 1,000 UK dog owners about their pet’s feeding habits.
They found that 38% admitted to feeding their dogs treats just for looking cute, which might be doing them more harm than good as it
Another 24% confessed that their dog licks their plate daily, and 37% give them ingredients to eat when preparing their own meals.
Just as it is for humans, when we get an extra biscuit or a generous dessert, obesity in dogs can also bring further health problems.
These include arthritis, diabetes, heart problems, high blood pressure, respiratory issues, and increased risk of developing certain tumors.
Obesity can also bring a higher risk in surgery should your dog need anaesthetics, a lower quality of life, and a shorter life expectancy.
Therefore, feeding the right amount of high-quality food to keep your dog at the correct weight can expand their lifespan by two years.
If you think your pooch needs to lose a bit of weight, here are some tips on how to get them back into shape.
Get everybody on board:
The first step to a healthy pup is getting everyone in your house to be on board with the changes. Otherwise, there is no point in taking the diet seriously if others continue to feed treats.
A good way to keep everything under control is to create a feeding chart so everyone at home knows when your dog has been fed their meals and daily treat.
Attention instead of treats:
Swap out excessive treats for cuddles or belly rubs!
Experts explain that a good rule of thumb is treats should not make up more than 10% of a dog’s daily calorie intake.
An occasional treat here and there can be good for your pup, if combined with training or if given for a nutritional benefit, but can become a trap if given too often.
Specialists said that for many dogs, attention is what they actually appreciate instead of the treat itself. Therefore, instead of surrendering to those puppy eyes with a treat, try an affectionate scratch, cuddle or play time session instead.
To get your pup into a healthy routine, you should aim for at least 20 minutes of walking, twice a day.
Walks with your dog not only provides the physical exercise they need, but it also stimulates them mentally.
If your dog is out of shape, a good way to start is to gradually increase the length of their usual walk by an extra 5-10 minutes each week.
If your pooch is already fairly active, you could try changing their usual exercise routine and adding other exercises like swimming.
Change or review your dogs diet:
For some dogs, all they need is a bit of exercise to lose weight. But others might also need a change in diet.
This can include a low fat, high fiber diet to help your dog stay fuller for longer with fewer calories, or reviewing the amount of food they get a day.
Experts suggest to re-evaluate your pooch’s portion sizes if you’re prone to overfeeding.
If you feed human foods to your pet, you should also consider cutting this out too as this has a big impact on their weight.
What if my dog is still hungry?
If your pup is used to eating bigger portions, experts explained that it is the extra food will be missed when it gets reduced.
However, their body will soon adapt and get used to its new routine.