Monday, August 6th, 2018


Obesity is an increasing problem for both humans and our pets. While it is easy to use the excuse than an overweight dog must be much loved, the ‘ extra love’ can have a big impact on quality of life and reduce life expectancy. Weight gain is a slow process, so often goes unnoticed by the household, until one day someone else points out that Buster is looking a bit chunky. This is exactly what happened when I returned home after 6 months, my mother was in charge and spoilt my 3 labs with an extra 5 kg’s. It took me 6 months to get my girls back on track. Having said that mum was happy, the girls were happy……. Mmmmmmmmmm

A cup of food depends on the cup

Dogs weights and measures on packaging refer to an actual measuring cup


It is almost impossible to keep children from feeding extra treats to the dog. ( dogs have no 5 second rule) or feeding the dog under the table with unwanted food. Games, obedience activities and grooming, are all low calorie ways to interact with your dog instead of giving treats.


De-sexing a dog has many health benefits. It can however, be associated with weight gain if owners do not make an adjustment to the amounts they feed their dog after the operation. Rule of thumb is usually and 10-15% less food to prevent weight gain. This can be hard for the household to adjust to, but it is easier to take steps to prevent weight gain, than to try and lose weight after a dog has become obese.

Slow Metabolism

Some dogs do not burn calories efficiently. This might be genetic or it might be the result of a disease such as Hypothyroidism or Cushing’s disease

Control over what the dog eats

Put one person in charge of feeding the dog. Measure out the daily rations into a container so there is no temptation for anyone to give a little bit more.

Evaluation of weight

Because there is so much individual variation between dogs, giving an accurate ideal weight can be difficult. Instead we aim for an ideal body condition. To evaluate your dog’s condition, feel for a small amount of padding over the ribs. It should be possible to feel the ribs and it should feel like running your hand over your own fingers. There should be a waist between the ribs and the pelvis when looking down from above your dog, and there should be a small tuck in the belly where the hind legs meet the body.

Reap the rewards

For owners whose dog’s waistlines have got away on them, please don’t accept that your dog has to stay overweight. With some planning and commitment , you can make large improvements in your dog’s overall quality of life and enjoy a longer life together.


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