Is your pet overweight or do you feel that your furry friend has started to gain some weight lately?
You’re certainly not alone. An estimated 35% of all pets suffer from obesity. This, of course, comes with significant consequences. Obese dogs develop an increased risk for diabetes, breathing problems or arthritis. Research also shows that dogs, who are a bit heavier, are more likely to show behavioural problems.
Of course, something has to be done about this. That's why we give you these 6 simple and useful tips to get your four-legged friend back into shape as quickly as possible.
If you have the impression that your dog is overweight, you should first consult your veterinarian to develop a weight-loss plan according to your dog’s needs.
How to Tell if Your Dog is Overweight?
Dogs are considered obese when they weigh 20% or more above their ideal body weight.
This is, of course, difficult to determine at random. But there are a few things that you can take into account:
- The dog's waist is no longer visible
- You can no longer feel your dog's ribs and vertebrae
- It’s more difficult for the dog to stand up
- The dog often sits down on walks or no longer likes to go with you
- The dog becomes lazy
- The dog has difficulty walking and is short of breath quickly
- The dog has a bad temper
- The dog sleeps more than usual
- The dog gets hotter faster
- The dog develops skin problems due to excessive sweating
Body condition score
The following images show the Body Condition Score, taken from a paper published by Ghent University on obesity in pets. This score gives a visual indication of your pet's weight. Please note that this is only an indication. Therefore, the above mentioned characteristics should also be taken into account. This way you can get as accurate a picture as possible of your dog or cat's condition.
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Avoid table scraps
Research has shown that 21% of the daily calories in dogs come from snacks and treats. This often happens unconsciously. When you eat something tasty, you want to give your dog something tasty too. Replace it with a healthy snack, for example a fruit snack, vegetable snack or snack with a high meat content.
To measure is to know
Research has shown that dog parents who weigh their dog's food accurately are less likely to have an overweight dog. Of course, there are practical tools for this, such as our digital food scoop! We also usually indicate a minimum and maximum amount on our packaging . If your dog is active for most of the time, give him the maximum amount. If your dog is a little less active, give the minimum amount. If you notice that your dog is gaining weight, you should definitely consult your vet.
Always ensure sufficient exercise
Exercise also helps dogs lose weight. Try to go for an extra 10 minutes’ walk or play for an extra 20 minutes every day, it's not only good for your dog, it's good for you too. However, make sure you don't overexert your dog when it's too warm, otherwise there's a risk of sunstroke.
Pour a little water over the food
Does your dog need to eat less, but isn’t happy with the fact that his portions have been reduced? Simply pouring a little water over your dog's food will make the kibble swell and your faithful friend will feel like he’s getting a lot more to eat while the kilocalorie count doesn’t increase. A win-win situation!
Losing weight is good, but losing weight too quickly isn’t. Therefore, pay attention to this. We recommend that in general your dog should lose around 1% to 2% of his body weight per day! For example, if your dog weighs 20 kg, he should lose between 300 and 400 grams per week.
Never rewarding your dog with a tasty snack is obviously impossible! But you can make sure that the delicious reward your furry friend deserves is a healthy one. For example, it’s important that the snacks contain as many ingredients as possible that are similar to those your dog would find in nature. Try to give as much meat as possible and as few synthetic extras as possible. Tip: Dried meat is delicious and healthy!