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Include Your Dogs Health and Weight in Your New Year’s Resolutions

26 January 2016

UK - The ISPCA is urging pet owners to include their dog's weight in their New Year’s Resolutions as the extra weight affects their joints making them more prone to cruciate injuries, hip dysplasia to name a few.

Carrying this extra weight also affects their breathing, energy levels and heart etc, resulting in a shortened life span and making them prone to illness a leaner fitter dog would avoid.

What can you do to change this? How can you help your dog to lose weight & get healthy? A few small changes in a dog’s life will dramatically affect their weight so with that in mind we recommend the following guidelines to get you started on the road to good health for your dog.

  • Visit your vet – you must first bring your dog for a full health check to ensure there are no underlying conditions and illness causing weight gain or which would hinder weight loss.

  • Weigh your dog – while in for the vet check get an accurate weight from which is your starting point

  • Plan with your Vet/Vet Nurse the tailored plan for your pooch – once the correct weight suitable for the dog’s age, breed, size etc. is ascertained you can then set realistic mini goals before aiming for the ideal body weight in the long term

  • Cut down food intake of your dog, look at the portions you feed and stick to the recommended quantity – many people do not realise that the recommended portion set out on the back of your bag of food, is in fact a daily portion, and must be split between feeds, hence half am & half pm

  • Look at switching to a vet recommended low fat food, there are many options out there but do seek advice from your Vet and or Vet Nurse who is helping you with the weight loss plan

  • Cut out all fatty treats, there are lower fat/healthier options you can use but no human food, this is too rich & fatty for dogs. Giving your dog 1 human biscuit is equivalent to giving them a burger!

  • Introduce regular exercise plan including walks, playtime, swimming, running, fetch with a ball, walking up/down stairs & teaching them to sit & stand – some grossly overweight dogs will have to be introduced very gradually, increasing tolerance levels and for these dogs shorter more frequent walks are ideal, swimming & teaching them to sit, esp if they have weakened back legs

  • Don’t forget to weigh your pooch every few weeks, at this point you can see if your hard work is paying off & if not then make some further changes

  • Remember it is recommended that on your dog’s body you should be able to feel the ribs but not see them, there should be a clearly defined waist and trim under belly, though hard to describe visually this makes more sense – please see diagram

  • Get the whole family involved & of course singing from the same hymn sheet, the last thing you needs is someone sneaking the dog food & treats undoing all your hard work

  • Lastly have fun, this is a great time to spend with your dog, bonding, playing and exercising together. Both of you are getting fitter & healthier in the process.

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