Weight Management

About 50% of dogs in Australia are categorized as overweight or obese.

A healthy weight is breed specific, what is a healthy weight for a toy poodle may not be for a Chihuahua.

Health Issues Caused By Weight

  • Arthritis – just a little extra weight, puts added stress on joints, bones and ligaments, and can make daily living painful for a dog.
  • Diabetes – dogs can develop an inability to process sugar or carbohydrates. Diabetes is a life threatening disease with many complications, and requires daily management.
  • Heart – an increased blood pressure causes the heart to have to work much harder. Combine this with higher cholesterol levels and fatty deposits in the blood vessels and you have a recipe for a heart attack.
  • Heat intolerance – dogs cannot sweat as humans can, and with all that extra insulation, panting to lose heat can become more and more difficult.
  • Immune function – fatter dogs lose the ability to fight off diseases, and can also become more susceptible to cancer.

Managing Weight

  • Cut back on the treats. Human food in particular can be fattening to a dog. A single Frankfurt cut up and used for training is the equivalent of a human eating 3 hamburgers in one go. Use light canine treats instead.
  • Use weight loss food rather than maintenance – some high quality kibble designed for weight loss will keep them feeling full without the calories.
  • Weigh out his meals and then put it into a treat pouch to use during the day. You can then easily use the allotted amount and any leftover goes in his bowl at night. If he gets treats during the day and then his full dinner afterwards at night, weight gain is inevitable.
  • Use interactive food toys – having him work for his food will make him take longer to eat it, expend energy getting it out, as well as leave him feeling more satisfied.
  • Is he getting food elsewhere? – Neighbours over the fence, raiding the bins, eating the cat’s food or from other family members. Try not to allow the dog around the dinner table, particularly if you have children. If you have to, use a crate or a baby gate.
  • Exercise – particularly important, there are lots of fun ways to get active together.
  • When using food as a training tool make sure you cut back on actual meals, giving your dog less at meal times instead of the same amount.