Posted on 2020-09-30 07:42:25
by Ross Hansen
Unfortunately, dogs are prone to a range of health problems – with some ‘overbred’ breeds more at risk than others. As a new study from Direct Line makes clear, labradors, pugs, and golden retrievers are the three most overbred types of dog, and so these owners have to be especially vigilant. Out of all the range of health problems owners need to guard against, obesity is one of the most widespread. We all love to treat our dogs well, and that can sometimes mean we spoil them a little. Giving them a few treats here and there might seem harmless, but they can quickly add up. In order for our dogs to maintain a healthy weight, we must ensure that they are getting a well-balanced diet with plenty of exercise throughout the day. Just like we would with our own diets, we need to provide our dogs with plenty of vitamins and nutrients to keep them healthy.
Before we begin to panic about our beloved pets, it's also important to remember that there are lots of things we can do to maintain a healthy weight for our dogs. From monitoring eating habits to encouraging play and daily activities, let’s look at some of the best ways to keep your dog fit and healthy.
1. Healthy portion sizes
Just like humans, it's important that we get our dog's portion sizes correct. Overeating is a common problem, but it can be easily prevented. The portion should be based on how active your pet is as well their ideal weight. Feed manufacturers are now required to include a guideline chart on their product packets to guide pet owners of the right amount of serving (or food allowance) per body weight in kilogram or pounds.
2. Keep your dog active
It might seem like an obvious one, but all dogs require exercise. Your dog needs more than a backyard to run around, and the amount of exercise your dog requires will depend on their size and breed. We recommend doing some research of your own to find out how much exercise your dog should be getting. Every dog, even very small dogs, should be taken for at least one long walk a day. The speed and duration of these walks will vary from dog to dog, so it's important to stay in tune with your pet's ability and fitness levels.
3. Get creative
Walks are all well and good, but you shouldn’t stop there. Try to get more creative with the forms of exercise you engage in with your dog. It’ll be more interesting for both of you! There are a range of toys and games available, with options for both indoor and outdoor play. If you don’t mind getting messy, playing with a water gun or hose in the garden is a sure way to get your dog excited. Or for the wide open spaces of a park, a classic game of frisbee is a sure way to stretch their legs. Games are a particularly good way to exercise dogs who are reluctant walkers – it’s probably more fun for them to chase you around than to walk up and down the same road! This will benefit your dog’s mental health as well as their physical health, as they’ll appreciate the social interaction they have with you.
4. Find the right treats
Apart from doing food portions to your pets, it’s also ideal to find the right treats for them. Read labels similar to when you are reading nutritional facts on your own food. Opt for treats with fewer calories, less to no salt, and less chemical added. For those with obese pets, there are also health and safe snacks that can help your pet to slim down such as green beans, high protein meats such as liver, and air-popped popcorn.
These simple tips may sound obvious, but sometimes it’s easy to forget about the basics. If you make sure they’re followed, these steps can make a huge difference to your dog’s health!