If your dog has gained weight in lockdown we can help you, with our top tips to help your pups lose those pounds…

Of course we love our dogs and want to treat them but resisting those puppy dog eyes and cutting down on the snacks and treats will help prevent lockdown weight gain in dogs

For your dog,  being overweight can have scary and fatal consequences  and can lead to more illnesses, breathing difficulties, arthritis and other medical conditions

We hear so many owners say, “ but my dog always seems hungry and always begs!” Of course they do! Remember, that dogs are natural scavengers in the wild and will naturally eat everything that they find, even if they aren’t hungry! Dogs begging for food is a trait (and a skill) that they learn at an extremely young age! Learn to resist those puppy dog eyes to keep your dog healthy…

 

dog with biscuits

Don’t over feed your pup- it will lead to big health issues!

The average dog has put on almost half a stone since the pandemic began with pets in London gaining the most weight, according to a study by charity Guide dogs. In fact, Britain’s dogs have put on an average of 3.3kg each – almost half a stone – since the pandemic began!

This is down to a combination of Brits feeding their pets more treats as they are at home more and taking them on less walks. The study also shows that nearly quarter of those surveyed put extra snacking down the fact they are spending more time with their dogs, while one in five said they just can’t resist their puppy eyes.

Other reasons given for extra treats include trying to keep pets quiet during important conference calls and to stop dogs barking when home deliveries arrive. 25 % of respondents also blamed the rise in dog theft as a reason for less walks, claiming they felt, “scared” to take their pup out. With an estimated 10.1 million dog owners in the UK, this adds up to 33.3 million kilograms of extra weight!

If your dog is being nuisance at home, take a look at our Bark & Birch Basic Obedience Courses for help with training your dog

The research also found pets with male owners have gained more weight than those with female owners!

 

dog wanting food

Cut back on extra treats unless they are for training purposes

Start young with healthy eating

Make sure that when you get a puppy, you don’t get in to bad habits early on with your new pup. (in behaviour or in weight) If a puppy starts his or her life overweight, he will more than likely grow into an overweight adult. Make sure that you only feed your puppy the minimum amount recommended on your dog food and monitor and keep an eye on your puppy’s body shape as he grows and develops. If you aren’t sure if your puppy is the right size and weight then ask a vet or double check when you take your pup for boosters. Your vet will only be too happy to help you!

Is my dog overweight?

It’s hard to tell if a dog is overweight for their breed especially as all individual dogs are different. There are, however, certain things you can do to check to see if your dog could be carrying a few extra pounds. For example, does your dog have a pot belly or larger belly? If you look from above does your dog have a waist? If your dog’s body doesn’t taper after the ribcage and there is no waist and you can’t feel the dog’s ribs, then your pup could well be over weight…

 

dog with treats

A quick trip to the vet can confirm if your dog is overweight

The next step

Always make an appointment to see your vet if you aren’t sure if your pup is overweight. If they are, they will also need a medical to see if there are any health related issues Your vet will also be able to advise you on a special calorie controlled  diet and the right light food to feed your pup. Check out one of our healthy, raw recipes here

A food diary

Just like when we humans want to lose a few pounds, it is best to make a food diary for your dog or at least make note of everything he or she eats every day. You sometimes may be shocked how much that extra bit of ham or all those treats add up! Remember, dogs will always have an appetite. Especially for yummy scraps and all of those extras really do add up. Make a record of everything – including table scraps and treats – that your dog eats for a few days. The results may surprise you!

dog with bowl

Resist over feeding your dog!

Watching the weight

With light food or calorie-controlled food from the vet, your dog should lose the pounds in no time. The vet will be let you know how much to feed daily.  The amounts will keep in mind the target and desired weight for your dog and not what they weigh currently.

Try to keep weighing your dog’s food if possible so you can keep a close eye on exactly how much they are getting. Most of the dry foods will come with a special scoop so you can keep an eye on exactly how much you are feeding your pup.

If you need to use training treats for your dog’s training, make sure these are low in fat or why not make your own low calorie treats! 

Portion sizes

It is always best to try to cut down your portion sizes for your dog and try feeding three-quarters of what is recommended on the packet for your dog’s target slimmer weight. This is usually about 15 per cent less than the current weight, but if you are unsure, check with your vet as always!

Remember, treats for dogs aren’t all food based! Enrichment toys, or quality time with you is just as exciting for your dog as food!- maybe even more so!

Does your dog need some extra help?

Lockdown has been tough on humans and our dogs. If your dog needs some extra help in these strange times, please take a look at the courses and programs we offer and get in touch.
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