Keeping Your Dog In Shape: Part 1

Did you watch last weeks 'Secret Life of Dogs' on Channel 4 on Tuesday evening? It's estimated that 50% of the dog population is overweight and that 88% of dog owners don't know how much they should be feeding their pet! It is easy to see how our pets can put on a few pounds in a short space of time.

Overweight pets can easily become couch potatoes and find it hard to leave the house to exercise. It is important to meet our dog's exercise and stimulation needs as well as feeding them a balanced diet, correct for their life-stage, to keep them fit & healthy. If your dog starts to receive too many calories alongside too little exercise, the weight can slowly creep up!

Feeding to Control the Calories

Alfie

Alfie - Chorley

Feeding your dog a complete diet, which is correct for its life-stage is important to ensure the correct nutritional balance for its age. If your dog is overweight, it is better to change to a 'lite' diet such as Oscar Pinnacle Plus Oscar Pinnacle of Life and High Fibre Lite.

These diets have reduced calorie, protein and fat content to help with weight loss.

Weight gain can be avoided by carefully weighing out your dog's meal every day. OSCAR provide a bespoke measuring scoop with your dog's food to do this with. You may find that you need to cut down the amount of food your dog eats each day. Following the reduced feeding rate on the bag will help you to do this whilst still maintaining a healthy diet. Be careful not to reduce your dog's daily feed rate too much or too quickly.

Treats are a great way to reward your dog's behaviour and should be introduced as part of a balanced diet. But be careful... when feeding treats remember to reduce your dog's meal intake!

Here are 10 tips to help your dog to lose weight...

  • 1. Move your dog on to a weight control diet
  • 2. To prevent over feeding, make sure you weigh your dog's food out at each meal
  • 3. If your dog is more than15% overweight, you will need to give your dog a reduced feeding rate
  • 4. Remember to reduce your dog's feeding rate gradually
  • 5. Feed little and often to help your dog get use to the reduced feeding rate
  • 6. Cut out tit bits and extras such as human food
  • 7. Replace dog treats with healthy alternatives such as Oscars Slimmers Delight and Low Fat Singles
  • 8. Have weekly weigh-ins to monitor your dog's progress
  • 9. Make games out of your dog's meals to make home life more active
  • 10. Gradually increase your dog's activity on a walk with games and training

We hope part 1 of this series of blogs about dog health and fitness was interesting. If so please feel free to share it with others. Part two will follow next week and we'll be looking at ways to gently increase activity in an effort to get in shape.

Shelley Asden

Shelley Aspden (BSc Hons MSc)

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