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How to help your dog lose weight

BY John Burns

16th Jan 2023 Animals & Pets

How to help your dog lose weight

With one third of Britain’s pooches overweight, here’s what you can do to help get your dog’s weight down

Research by Burns Pet Nutrition found that 28 per cent of owners admit to feeding their pooch leftovers such as bacon, chicken, chips and even pizza. One in five (17%) regularly feed their pet from the table, while more than half (52%) never bother to measure the amount of food they give them.

And nearly a quarter (22%) of all owners say they spoil their animals, leading to Britain becoming a nation of porky poodles, chubby Chihuahuas, waddling wolfhounds and pudgy Pekes. 

Overweight corgiCredit: Mary Swift

Leading veterinary surgeon and founder of Burns Pet Nutrition John Burns warned: “Obesity is one of the biggest killers in dogs. Owners may think they are being kind by spoiling their pets but in reality, they could be killing them with kindness.

"Owners may think they are being kind by spoiling their pets but in reality, they could be killing them with kindness"

Mr Burns added: “It is vital we do all we can to make dog owners aware of the right type and amount of food to feed their pet and the importance of regular exercise.”

The research, ahead of January being weight loss awareness month, also found that almost one in five owners say they leave food down for their dog all the time so they can help themselves to it. 

Healthiest weights

Healthy labrador with a family sitting on sofa behind Credit: shironosov

Mr Burns has revealed the healthiest weight for dogs for the most popular UK breeds, outlined below, including Labradors, Cockapoos, Poodles, Staffies and Jack Russell’s. Obviously, this varies for males and females.

  • Labradors – 25kg - 36kg
  • Cockapoos – 5.4kg - 11.3kg
  • Poodles – 18kg – 31.7
  • Staffies – 10.9kg - 17.2kg
  • Jack Russell’s – 5kg - 12kg

This comes as new research from Burns Pet Nutrition reveals that 1 in 2 (52%) pet owners don't always weigh out the correct amount of food for their dog, and 28% admitted to feeding their dog leftovers such as bacon, chicken, chips and even pizza!  

No wonder dogs are putting on weight with 22% say they spoil their pooch and often feed them from the table. And rather surprisingly, almost one in five (17%) say they leave food down for their dog all the time so they can help themselves to it.

"Even if it means you have to drop one of the things from your to-do list, it is your responsibility to take the dog out and get it moving"

Obesity in pets is one of the biggest killers, and with January being weight loss awareness month, John Burns, founder of leading healthy pet food company Burns Pet Nutrition, is keen to raise awareness around pets health, diets and how to ensure dogs are eating healthy.

Burns has also put together a list of tips for people on how to help your dog lose weight:

Exercise your dog regularly

Woman walking dog in the woodsCredit: daniilphotos

With so many time constraints we know there aren’t always the hours in the day to fit in several dog walks, but depending on the breed, your dog often needs them. Even if it means you have to drop one of the things from your to-do list, it is your responsibility to take the dog out and get it moving. If your dog is very overweight, this might start with slow and steady steps.

Be mindful of portion sizes

Golden retriever eating food from a bowlCredit: fury123

It is so easy to simply pour the dog food into the bowl and let your hungry pup go for it. Though, often when owners do this, they have little idea how much food their dog actually needs which can lead to dogs easily becoming overweight. So, next time before you fill the bowl, work out exactly what your dog needs.

Give treats when they are warranted

Shiba inu dog being offered a treatCredit: A8-dct

When your dog gives you those puppy eyes, we know it’s so hard to refrain from giving them a treat, or, if they have already had a few, another can’t hurt, right?

"Despite what our hearts and their eyes tell us, our dogs don’t need more treats"

Despite what our hearts and their eyes tell us, our dogs don’t need more treats. They will still love you even if you only give them one treat and it is well-earned. Cut back their food to account for any treats given and vegetables are also great to give as a healthy alternative.

Regularly weigh your dog

Overweight pug on scales with a sign saying overweightCredit: Monica Click

Monitoring your pet’s weight over time is very important and helps you to spot weight gain so that you can make any necessary changes before it goes too far. 

You can often weigh your pet in the waiting room of the veterinary practice or in some pet shops and groomers.

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