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Vet Blog: How Different Dog Can Help with Obesity

Obesity is the most common nutritional challenge faced by our canine population. A report published by PDSA in 2019 stated that it is estimated that nearly 50% of dogs in the UK are classed as overweight or obese. 

So What Does “Obese” Mean?

A dog is considered obese when it is 20% overweight and an excess of body fat has accumulated, that is negatively affecting its quality and quantity of life. 

Being obese can predispose a dog to several other conditions such as: 

  • Heart and Lung disease 
  • Osteoarthritis 
  • Diabetes Mellitus 
  • Cancer 

Being overweight can also have a profound effect on the lifespan in pet dogs – Liverpool University recently published data that looked at 50,000 dogs from across 12 breeds. They found that for many, being overweight meant they lived up to two years less than those at a healthy weight! 

There is a tendency for some breeds of dogs to gain excess weight, which indicates that there is a genetic role in becoming overweight. These breeds include: 

  • Labrador Retrievers 
  • Shetland Sheepdogs 
  • Golden Retrievers 
  • Cocker Spaniels 
  • Dachshunds 
  • Miniature Schnauzers 
  • Springer Spaniels 
  • Chihuahuas 
  • Basset Hounds 
  • Pugs 

In addition to this, research has found a genetic mutation in some Labrador and Golden Retrievers that can cause them to have an increased appetite and feel hungry, even if they have just eaten. This can mean they are more likely to become obese. 

Prevention is Better Than Cure

Obese puppies can become obese in adulthood, so it is important to monitor their weight from a young age. Regularly weighing your dog can help you notice any weight gain. 

Calorific requirements of dogs of the same weight can vary hugely, depending on if they are neutered, how old or how active they are. These should all be taken into consideration when working out how much to feed your four-legged friend. 

How Can Exercise Help?

Exercise has so many benefits for your dog. 

Regular exercise expends energy, builds and maintains lean muscle mass. It can also reduce boredom related eating in pets. 

Exercise alone rarely results in significant weight loss – however regular exercise and using enrichment toys to encourage play can help prevent your dog from gaining weight in the first place and can be used to maintain a healthy weight. 

Losing Those Pounds

If your dog is overweight, your vet can offer you lots of support to help your dog reach a healthy weight. 

Body condition scoring is a great way to evaluate the shape your dog is in. A body condition score of 5 (on a 9 point scale) should be your target. 

Your vet will put together a weight loss plan for your pup. The perfect weight loss program should be: 

  • Tailored to the individual 
  • Monitored regularly 
  • Realistic in the target (aiming for 1% weight loss per week) 
  • Adapted as necessary 
  • Allow for treats (limit these to less than 10% of daily calories) 

How Can Different Dog Help?

“She has a heart condition that is doing brilliant since being on this food. She has gone from 13.5kg down 12.3kg, which the vet said is brilliant!”

– Ella’s 2-Legged Mum on Different Dog

Here at Different Dog we are always on hand to help with your dogs’ weight loss journey. During the sign-up process we ask: 

  • How much does your dog weigh? 
  • How old is he or she? 
  • Are they neutered or spayed? 
  • How is their physique (are they carrying a few extra pounds?) 
  • How active are they? 

Our algorithm will then calculate the perfect portion for your dog, and we will deliver the food straight to your door. 

You can update your dogs’ profile, letting us know if they have gained or lost weight, and we will adjust the portions accordingly. 

We also have a specially formulated low-fat recipe, called Keep Me Trim Turkey. It’s just as delicious as all our other recipes, just lower in fat and perfect for those pups on a diet! 

If you have any questions about anything related to this article or about Different Dog, you can get in contact with our in-house vet and nutritionist. 

Sign up to a subscription today from as little as 75p a day and get a whole range of meals tailored to your dog delivered to your door!