Top tips to manage obesity in dogs
Kellie Ceccarelli, the veterinary training manager for Eukanuba, gives her tips on how to keep your dog fit and healthy.
THE NUMBER of overweight and obese pets continues to rise in the UK, with almost 45 per cent of pets treated by veterinarians considered overweight. Excess weight increases the risk of conditions such as osteoarthritis, hypertension, diabetes and some forms of cancer, and can also significantly reduce life expectancy.
Many pet owners are unaware of the risk that weight issues carry for their beloved companions with most (63 per cent) believing there are more important problems faced by their pets and a third (30 per cent) never checking their pets' weight.
Kellie Ceccarelli is the veterinary training manager for Eukanuba, the experts in super premium nutrition for dogs. Here are Kellie’s top tips on how you can keep an eye on your dog’s waistline so they can live a long, happy and healthy life.
1) Keep your dog fit and healthy
Kellie says: “Make sure you keep your dog nice and trim. Regular exercise and a high quality diet will ensure your dog remains as close to an ideal weight and body condition as possible. Feed according to your pet’s optimal body weight and the manufacturers feeding guidelines, but keep in mind that these are just guidelines and your pet’s energy requirements are unique to him/her. Try not to over feed treats and titbits, opting for healthy lower calorie treats where possible, such as Eukanuba Healthy Extra Treats or Eukanuba Restricted Calorie Rewards.
2) Speak to your vet
Kellie says: “Whatever your dog’s age, if you think your canine companion may be overweight speak to your vet or vet nurse as they will be able to identify your dog’s ideal body weight and provide you with a feeding plan to help your dog lose any extra lbs safely. They will also give you guidance on safe exercise suited to both your dog’s needs and your lifestyle.”
3) Review their food
Kellie says: “There are some times in a dog’s life when weight gain becomes more common, such as later in life or after neutering. Keep in mind that typically from the age of seven years many dogs begin to show signs of middle age spread. For this reason we recommend changing to a lower energy diet such as Eukanuba Mature and Senior to help prevent weight gain during a dogs ‘more mature’ years.”
To summarise, Kellie says: “Similar to people, the secret to having a healthy dog is maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle. Of course we mustn’t forget about genetics as they play an important role but I think it’s important to realise that we as pet owners really can make a huge difference with diet, exercise, appropriate care and good veterinary care.
“We discovered the impact of feeding dogs Eukanuba, along with appropriate care, over a ten plus year observation of a group of 39 very special Labrador Retrievers. Almost all of the dogs (90 per cent) fed Eukanuba, together with appropriate care, lived beyond the breed’s typical twelve years life expectancy, some of them living to 17 years old and one living just a few short weeks from his 18th birthday – that’s an additional six years longer. Importantly these Labradors were all in great shape and were fed to maintain a healthy bodyweight.”