Is my dog overweight?

While a little treat every now and then won’t harm, too frequent treats and too little exercise can turn a once feisty doggy into a lazy fatty-boom-bah!

21 Mar 2016 By Kat Pekin Comments

Are you concerned your four-legged pal might be a little too far on the chunky side? While having a chubby dog doesn’t necessarily mean they are overweight or that their health is at risk, it’s good to familiarise yourself with how much your dog should weigh just to be sure. Compare your dog’s weight to the average weight of a dog of the same breed and age and see how your dog stacks up.

There are websites such as this one, that list the average weight for a variety of dog breeds, but this isn’t always accurate and it doesn’t take into account mixed breeds. Some dogs are just heavier, some are just smaller. You might have a perfectly healthy little chubster! If you are concerned or unsure about your dog's weight, a quick call or visit to your local vet should ease your mind. Your vet can tell you if your dog seems overweight or if he’s just a big boy, and your vet can also tell you what to do to make sure your dog doesn’t get too heavy.

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There are things you can do as an owner to ensure your dog is a healthy little pooch. It’s important to remember that dogs don’t need three meals a day like humans do. They get all the energy they need from two or sometimes even just one meal a day. If you’re wondering if you are over-feeding your dog, just keep an eye on his food bowl for any leftovers. If there are any, it’s a good sign your dog isn’t hungry. Of course, there are dogs who will just eat and eat and eat even if they’re full so it’s not a guaranteed solution. Squeamish warning! If you notice vomit around and see bits of dry dog food that are almost the same shape as they were when they went in, it’s a sign you’re overfeeding your dog because they are getting too much food to digest it properly.

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Check with your vet how much your dog needs to eat a day. Obviously smaller dogs don’t need as much as bigger dogs, so you need to adjust the amount of food for each dog. This can be difficult if you have dogs of varying sizes as they are bound to feast on each other’s food. To combat this, try and feed your dogs in separate places. Perhaps one can eat in the kitchen and one just outside the back door. Or feed your smaller dogs inside so ensure they get the food they need, as bigger dogs are likely to overpower their tinier playmates and gorge on their food as well as their own.

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Make sure your dog gets daily exercise. As long as he’s got an active life, he will likely not be an overweight pup. Ideally, aim to exercise your dog for a half hour a day. A thirty-minute walk or twenty minutes of play in the backyard will keep them active and keep those kilos and pounds from piling on. Make a game of the exercise, playing fetch or tug-of-war, or going swimming in a lake or at the beach.  

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While exercise is important to keep your dog’s weight in check, it’s also important not to overwork your dog. Smaller dogs are likely to tucker themselves out quite fast, and bigger dogs might just keep running. Pay attention to how your dog is acting. If he is excitedly bounding about, running around in circles, then let him run. He’s showing you he has the energy and the desire to play around. Let him expend that energy, you don’t want a wired up pup around the house!

 

What’s your secret to keeping your bark buddy healthy and active?

 

21 Mar 2016 By Kat Pekin Comments

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