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Hypo-allergenic dog food range

Designed to be kind to your dog's stomach

Weight management

Stand back and take a critical look at your dog: Do you think that he or she may be a little bit on the chunky side?

Overweight and obese dogs are increasingly common in the UK with some veterinary surgeons estimating that nearly 50% of all dogs they see are overweight, of which 15% are clinically obese.1 Interestingly, less than half of these dogs' owners are aware of their dog's weight problem. That is mainly because weight creeps up gradually over time and many outward “symptoms” of a dog becoming overweight like increased inactivity or dull coat can all too easily be attributed to getting older. Many dog owners simply don't realise their dog is overweight.2

50% of all dogs in the Uk are estimated to be overweightThe estimated percentage of
overweight dogs in the UK

Just like in overweight and obese humans, there are long-term consequences on an overweight dog's health. Overweight and obese dogs are more likely to suffer from conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, breathing difficulties, lowered immunity and conditions affecting the skin and coat. All of these conditions can shorten a dog's lifespan.

There are various causes of undue weight gain, but one of the main two culprits is overfeeding. Too many treats and table scraps add to the problem. Though luckily, this means it can be corrected easily by overall feeding less but making sure all feeding is of a complete balanced diet with high-quality ingredients. It is important to realise that feeding guides are just that; it's your dog's condition that determines how much he or she needs, and particular feed amounts depend on individual factors such as level of exercise, general health and how well your dog metabolises food.

As for treats, dry pet food kibbles lend themselves to be used as a treat in-between meal times or for training - obviously they need to be deducted from the day's food allowance.

Before you start your dog on a weight loss diet it is advisable to consult your veterinarian to rule out any medical conditions that may have led to the increase in weight (e.g. hormonal disorders such as under-active thyroid). It is important to take a slow and steady approach to weight loss and your veterinarian will be able to devise an action plan that suits your dog. Generally, the safest rate of weight loss for any dog is considered to be between one and two percent of total body weight per week.

Lack of exercise constitutes the other main cause of obesity in dogs. In very simplistic terms, the energy your dog gets from food must not be more than the energy he or she expends. Obviously, the quality and composition of the food plays a role in energy metabolism and how much weight your dog may gain. But regular daily exercise is essential for any dog's health. At least 2 walks are recommended each day - the precise amount needed will vary depending on the specific breed and size of dog. Try to do the same amount of exercise every day, rather than a quick 10 minute walk during the week and a 3 hour hike at the weekend.

So, how can you be sure your dog is the right weight? The following short video demonstrates how you can check your dog's condition applying the body scoring system detailed below.

Click the PLAY button to start the weight check video:

Now it's your dog's turn!

  • Gently place your hands on the dog's rib cage and run your fingertips along the coat without applying pressure. Do the ribs seem to be covered by lots of flesh? Is it hard to even feel them?
  • Is there fat on the lower back and base of the tail?
  • Does your dog have no “waist” or only a light one when viewed from above? (See chart below)
  • Is the belly flabby and rounded when viewed from the side (and not "tucked up")

The following illustrations show a dog's waistline from above:


Illustration of a dog with normal weight


Illustration of an overweight dog


Illustration of an obese dog

If you can answer yes to one or more questions this indicates your dog may be overweight or obese. To help your dog regain health and live longer, please consult your veterinarian, feed a complete food appropriately, and ensure daily exercise.

1 BBC, Inside Out, 07/03/2005: (last accessed: 12/06/2009)
2 Tim Phillips, Obesity – new insights, Petfood Industry, November 2008, p22f

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