Dog Weight Loss
Food is vital for your pet, it keeps your dog full of vitality and energy. But just like us, it’s all too easy for those unwanted pounds to creep on. We’re all becoming fatter as a nation, and that goes for our four-legged friends too.
Around a third of Britain’s pet dogs are overweight. But the 2013 Healthy Happy Hound Report, based on a study of 2000 UK dog owners, revealed that only one in ten of us recognise when our dog has a weight problem. Could that be you?
Just like humans, overweight dogs are less fit, less active, suffer more illnesses and often have more injuries. Luckily dog weight loss doesn’t have to be difficult to deal with. There are all sorts of ways to keep your dog’s weight to a good level, including special weight loss dog food and healthy dog food. You’ll be doing them a favour in the long run, so if your dog is turning into a fattie, take action early to stop things getting out of hand!
The statistics are worrying. More than a third of dogs in Britain are either overweight or obese, and it’s on the increase. Sadly, excess weight in dogs leads to serious health problems like diabetes, heart disease and arthritis.
Overweight dogs are also less mobile, less willing to play, and get out of breath quickly. As you can imagine all of this can lead to a depressed and anxious dog, which just makes things even worse. You’re in charge of your dog’s food and exercise, and it’s your job to stop the cycle.
We’re doing our bit to help the owners of obese dogs by creating a clever range of delicious tasting meaty recipes called Butcher’s Lean & Tasty, all healthy food for dogs. Our diet dog food contains 30% less fat than our standard range and also feature added L-Carnitine, a naturally occurring nutrient that transports fat directly to a dog’s working muscles to be used up as energy.
We only use naturally lean meat, and the food is steam cooked to capture all that meaty goodness and fresh flavour that dogs love. Last but not least it’s soya free, gluten free and contains no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives, all of which make it nice and easy to digest.
How much should I feed my dog?
It seems an obvious question, but how much should I feed my dog is a question we get asked frequently.
When you follow the guidelines on every tin of Butcher’s dog food, and avoid giving your dog snacks and treats outside of mealtimes, you’ll be doing the right thing. But it isn’t all about food. It’s also an exercise thing. As a human being you can’t realistically expect to lose weight without doing exercise to burn the food off, and dogs are no different.
If your dog lies around all day, they won’t lose extra weight as quickly as they will when they do lots of lovely exercise. It needn’t mean running about for hours on end or walking miles every day. Playing with a favourite ball or toy throughout the day will also help.
Our special doggie weight loss story
We did an experiment a while ago, showing just how good our healthy food for dogs – our Lean & Tasty range – is for fat dogs. Nine overweight dogs of all shapes, sizes and ages were fed a dog diet of Butcher’s Lean & Tasty food for five months. Each dog was weighed every four weeks and their diet tailored carefully to their individual needs. All it took was a few weeks of this to achieve a steady, healthy weight loss in all the dogs taking part. If they can do it, so can you!
Once the dogs had reached their target weights, their dog diets were reviewed again to make sure they weren’t either losing more weight than they should or piling the pounds back on. All nine dogs lost weight, totalling an impressive 26kg lost across all nine.
Want to know more? Follow this link to take a look at how nine overweight dogs of all shapes and sizes trialled Lean & Tasty to help them reach their target weight.
If you’re interested in trialling Lean & Tasty for your dog, why not download our special dog food diary chart to help you monitor their weight?
You’ve noticed your dog is gaining weight – What should you do?
First of all, well done for recognising your dog is overweight. Because you live with your dog day to day, it isn’t always immediately obvious. Admitting your dog needs to lose a few pounds is the first step towards making a difference to their health and quality of life.
Dog diets can be a bit tricky at first, especially when your pooch is used to regular fattening treats or eats human leftovers in between their regular meals. But you need to be firm to get your pet back to a happy, healthy weight and prevent potentially huge vet bills if they get poorly because they’re too fat.
Like us, overweight dogs are more prone to problems with their hearts, bones and joints. Fatter dogs can experience rapid breathing and panting, which is uncomfortable and stressful for them, and they’re also at more risk of diabetes.
Dog weight loss leads to a healthy weight, which means they will get much more out of life. He or she will find it easier to run and play, and he’ll be much more fun as a companion for you, too. Often all it takes is a good quality diet dog food and some extra exercise to give your beloved pet a fresh lease of life. If you’ve ever lost some weight yourself, you’ll already know how good it feels!
If you’re not 100% sure whether your dog is getting fat, you can check out our Dog Sizeometer guide – click here. Your vet will probably offer a weight and health check, which is really handy. If your pet has an existing medical condition, it’s important to discuss the most suitable dog diet and exercise programme for your dog with your vet before taking action.
Cutting calories and weight loss dog food
How much should I feed my dog to help guard against weight gain? It’s all about the calories. You should reduce or remove treats from their diet altogether. If they adore their treats and look forward to them, you might find it easiest to cut down gradually rather than go ‘cold turkey’.
You might also want to think about feeding your pet more wet food than dry, since dry food can contain as many as four times the calories compared to wet. You can also gradually reduce the amount of food you give them at mealtimes. It’s important to have regular mealtimes, a good way to keep the amount of food they eat under control. But most effective of all, combine less food with more exercise.
Luckily most dogs love to run around, especially when it means playing with someone they love. Food and play are probably the two great loves of your dog’s life, apart from you of course! Distracting him or her with games is all part of a successful, even enjoyable, weight loss routine.
The key message for dog weight loss is distraction, distraction, distraction. Do more exercise. Increase the distance or frequency of your walks, or both. But do it gradually so your dog doesn’t really notice. If it’s a challenge to get outside, play lively games like hide and seek or use dog toys to make indoor life more fun. If you can take your dog to play with other dogs, even better – they love running around together and naturally get more exercise that way.
If your dog has been trained to associate treats and snacks with being rewarded, you need to change the habit. Try rewarding them with non-food treats like strokes and affection, or the chance to play with a favourite toy. Dogs also love healthy snacks like carrots, rawhide and bones.
Using our Lean & Tasty range to aid your dog’s weight loss
If you want to put your dog on a diet without them noticing the change, you should swap your normal food in stages over a few days by mixing the old food with Lean & Tasty, like this:
- Day 1: 75% old food, 25% Butcher’s Lean & Tasty
- Day 2: 50% old food, 50% Lean & Tasty
- Day 3: 50% old food, 50% Lean & Tasty
- Day 4: 25% old food, 75% Lean & Tasty
- Day 5: 100% Lean & Tasty
5 Top Tips for Dog diets
Here are some cool tips to help dog weight loss.
- Use the feeding guidelines on the packaging as a guide
- Establish a permanent routine for meals so your dog knows what to expect and you know exactly what to feed when
- Think about dividing your dog’s food into 2 or 3 meals a day – feeding little and often will soon turn ordinary mealtimes into treats
- Stay strong – don’t give in to doggy demands for treats and snacks between meals
- Substitute in diet dog food by mixing it into their current food, gradually changing the balance over a 5 to 7 day period
Have a dog weight loss question?
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