The worrying numbers were revealed by pet nutrician experts www.tails.com, who estimate that obese dogs on average live a year less than pups of an optimum weight.
We can all be guilty of a little overindulging now and then, whether it’s an extra biscuit or an extra helping of dessert, but when those over indulgences lead to quite a bit of weight gain, we can put ourselves at risk of damaging our health.
Just as it is for humans, obesity in dogs is also a health risk – with associated problems including, but not restricted to, arthritis, diabetes, heart problems, high blood pressure, respiratory issues, an increased risk of developing certain tumours, and a lower quality of life.
So, if you think your dog needs a little help to get back into shape, here’s what you need to do.
If your dog is already fairly active, try changing their usual exercise routine and adding other exercises like swimming. Swimming is a great way for a dog to exercise without putting any excess stress or strain on their joints, although remember not all breeds are built to swim - the likes of Bulldogs, Pugs, French Bulldogs, and Corgis generally prefer to stay on dry land.
For some dogs, it’s simply the lack of exercise that contributes to their weight gain. For others, however, they may require a change in diet. This could mean looking at a low fat, high fibre diet to help your dog stay fuller for longer with fewer calories or simply tweaking the amounts or type of treats they usually get each day. If you’re prone to overfeeding, you may need to reassess your dog’s portion sizes.
If your dog is used to eating bigger portions, it’s likely that extra bit of food will be missed when it’s reduced. The body soon adapts, however, and as we mentioned earlier, it’s the attention that comes with the feeding that can be more satisfying for your dog than the food itself.