A new study has revealed that more than one in two dogs in the UK are now overweight – and the number is only rising.
Like owner like dog?
‘Dogs look like their owners’ is the common turn of phrase. And what if it’s starting to come true? Over the last ten years, dogs appear to have been mirroring the human obesity epidemic, with 158% more fat dogs today than there were a decade ago.
And it’s bad news if you closely resemble a Labrador retriever, Cairn terrier or Cocker spaniel: they’ve been identified as the most likely pooches to pile on the pounds.
Suffering in silence
But being overweight can have serious health consequences for your dog. Unlike us, they can’t voice their discomfort and pain, so you may not know how much they’re suffering.
Obesity increases the risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, arthritis and respiratory problems – much like the problems overweight owners can face. The recent Banfield report discovered that dogs carrying more than their fair share of weight have an 82% increase in arthritis issues and 83% increase in tracheal collapse.
Love handles don’t come for free
Being overweight costs people money. If you’re the owner of a porky pooch, you’ll likely spend 17% more on healthcare over a four-year period and a quarter more on medication.
Then there’s the cost of food: a third of owners admit to overfeeding their dogs, while research shows that most dogs don’t get enough quality exercise. The result? Long-term health issues and that shorten doggie lives by up to two years.
Fat or just curvy?
Head vet at tailor-made dog food company tails.com, Dr Sean McCormack explains the tell-tale signs that your dog is carrying too much weight.
- When running your hands over your dog’s chest you find it difficult to feel their ribs. Or their belly is hanging towards the floor instead of neatly tucked towards their hips. Dogs have waists too, you know.
- Smelly breath. Inflamed gums, difficulty chewing, stained or tartar-ridden teeth are all indicators of obesity.
- Patches of red, flaky, dry or inflamed skin. Dermatitis, dandruff and dull coats are symptoms of a flabby pet. Any strange lumps or fleshy growths should be checked by a vet immediately.
- Loss of appetite or too much sleep can mean a dog is overweight. Being fat can make you lethargic, so if they’re panting a lot, stopping frequently or refusing to walk it’s probably because they’re uncomfortable. Watch out for excess thirst or lack of interest in you as well.
- Digestive problems are a common issue in overweight pooches. Flinching when their tummy is touched, adopting certain poses, gurgling sounds or vomiting and diarrhoea should all be causes for concern.
How you can help
Every owner wants their pet to live a long, healthy life that’s free from pain. But it can be difficult to know what’s best for your dog and all too easy to give into those puppy-dog eyes. PoochPlay can help you get your dog’s health and happiness under control. Tailored diet, exercise and activity plans make getting your pooch in shape easy.