The New Year brings about resolutions for many of us, but it can also be a timely reminder to check in on our dogs - and what a great time to make a resolution for them, too.
Is your dog overweight? Sometimes it's tricky to determine whether or not they've had too many 'Christmas Puddings' but here are three key ways to check if your dog really should lose a few kilo's
1. You need to press down on their sides to feel their ribs. You should be able to feel their ribs by running your hands LIGHTLY down their sides. If you need to press down at all, this is an indication that they are overweight. However, if your dogs ribs are actually sticking out & protruding, this could be an indication of your dog being underweight.
2. When you look straight down on your dog from above, you cannot see a clearly discernable waistline or your dog looks 'square-ish'.
3. You cannot see a clear tummy tuck from the tummy to groin area. A healthy dog will have a pronounced ‘tuck up’ where their underbelly tapers up, at an angle, neatly into the groin. If the underbelly sags down instead, or you cannot see this same slanted angle of ‘tuck up’ it is likely that your dog is overweight.
Why is a healthy weight so important?
An overweight dog places more stress on joints, tendons & ligaments
Being overweight stresses the heart
Being overweight increases the risk of ligament tears & damage including cruciates
Overweight dogs generally have a shorter lifespan
Have you just discovered that your dog is overweight?
If so, here are some tips to get them back on track for 2024
Accept that your dog is overweight. Stop making excuses for them and don't go into denial. Start making a plan to get your dog back on track. The more overweight your dog gets, the more exercise becomes progressively harder work, and takes an ever greater toll on their heart and joints.
Cut out snacks, table scraps, treats, and leftovers. Feed your dog twice per day only. Cut back on their daily food quota by 1/4-1/3. The goal (just as it is for humans) is for a slow and steady weight loss. Use a measuring cup so you can accurately measure food rather than just tip some into their bowl thinking 'that's about right'.
If you still want to give the occasional treat - use low calorie treats like fish skins very sparingly and only when earned. Be mindful of using banana, apple and carrot which are higher in natural sugars!
Consider transitioning to a higher quality food like Acana or Orijen. A premium quality kibble means you feed less (an added bonus - your bag lasts longer which means pricing is comparable to lesser quality kibbles!) Our Acana range stocks something for everyone - low & high activity breeds, skin issues, senior dogs, puppies... You name it, we can get it for you
Sometimes vets can prescribe a weight loss food. However - just like humans - you often don't need a special diet to lose weight! Simply reducing intake, eradicating treats & increasing exercise will usually do the trick.
Keep in mind that food manufacturers often over prescribe food quotas on the back of the bag so don't be afraid to cut down below what it says on the back of your bag.
Let us know if you're keen to try a sample of Acana and we'll deliver it to you, free of charge! (must be based in Central Otago - Alexandra, Clyde or Cromwell)
Let's aim for a healthier 2024 and get your dog back on track If you need any further tips on reducing your dogs weight (or you're having the opposite problem and struggling to put weight on) we have tips for that, too.