Animals: Overweight pets

Sunday, 13 August 2017
Let me introduce you to Pip, fortunately Pip is now no longer a resident of Cardiff Dogs Home and is happily living in his forever home, however when Pip arrived at Cardiff Dogs Home he looked like this: 
Pip is a Daschund and is (was!) quite clearly overweight. Morbidly obese and at a real danger of developing sores on his belly. At one point Pip was his owner's world and was very much loved, but just like we can reward Children, it's all too easy to show affection for animals by slipping them an extra scoop of food or just that extra treat!

However, what is thought of as a bit extra or a treat could actually be causing real harm to our pets and in Pip's case - ending in obesity and this is becoming a real issue for Britain's animals. According to research by the PDSA, one third of dogs (and a quarter of cats) are overweight - a statistic that is expected to grow in the coming months. 

The PDSA attribute the growing number of overweight pets to Britain's junk food lifestyle. Whilst we think we are being kind by giving in to those puppy eyes staring at our food - we're actually being far from it. 

You can't deny that Pip does look super cuddly, however the health implications for him were numerous. Pip could barely manage a walk when he first came into Cardiff Dogs home, I dread to think how he felt in the hot few days we had this summer and he just had no oomph about him.

The PDSA have provided me with some information on keeping your pets in great condition and what you can do if you think your pet needs to shift a few pounds!

Your animal’s weight can be influenced by a number of factors—not just its diet. Things like breed, age, sex and whether it has been neutered or not can all play a part. However, the most common cause of obesity in pets is diet—and, as an owner, it’s your duty to do all you can to ensure they get the right nutrients in the right quantity.
This is often easier said than done so, to help, we have enlisted the help of dogfood retailer Feedem — who offers a range of grainfree dog food — to share some tips:

Is my pet obese?

Before you can determine the best course of action, you must first establish whether your pet is overweight. Here’s how to examine your cats and dogs to check their weight:


·       Ribs, spine and hip bones should be easily seen and felt.
·       When looking from above, the waist should be clearly visible.
·       The stomach should only have a small amount of fat and shouldn’t sag.


·       The outline of your dog’s ribs should be easy to see and feel.
·       When looking from above, the waist should be clearly visible.
·       From the side, your dog’s stomach should be tucked up.
If your pet fails any of the above checks, the temptation is to immediately put them on a diet. However, you should always speak to your vet to get their advice before any action is taken.

How can my pet lose weight?

In general, there are two ways your pet can lose weight: limiting their diet and increasing the amount of exercise they receive.
It’s really important to feed your pet a food that’s suitable for their age, lifestyle and health status. If not, it will be difficult for them to get the nutrients they require. Generally, cats require a meat-based, well-balanced diet, while dogs will need a balanced diet. Most human food does not nutritionally support cats or dogs, so should be avoided.
Monitor the amount of food you’re giving your pet. Cats usually prefer several small meals a day, while a dog should be fed at least once or as advised by a vet. Always read and follow the feeding instructions given on the pet food.
When it comes to exercise, the amount your dog needs will vary between breeds. For example, smaller breeds like a pug, a bichon frise or shih tzu will need around 20 minutes exercise, excluding indoor play. Larger breeds like dalmations, boxers and border collies will need more than two hours. Take a look at this graphic from the PDSA to find out how much exercise other breeds require.

You can up your cat’s exercise by encouraging them to play with cat toys. This should get them jumping, pouncing and leaping around.

Pip is now happily homed, but there are always beautiful dogs looking for their forever homes and you can read more about them here:

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