I have just read a summary of a research paper that was published in Preventative Veterinary Medicine magazine in May this year. The researchers surveyed over 200 dog owners, and over 150 veterinary practices in Victoria, Australia. The outcome was that only 3% of dog obesity cases could be attributed to dog specific factors such as genetics and medical conditions. Do you know what this means?
This means that 97% of cases of obesity in dogs occur because of their owner. Too much food, the wrong type of food and not enough physical exercise.
What does this mean for you and your dog?
This means that you have the power to control your dog’s body weight. You have the power to cut back on the number of treats you give him, you have the power to change his diet to a dog food with lower fat content, and you have the power to get him out for a walk or a run more often.
If your dog is overweight, you’re not alone. Another study was conducted by researchers in companion animal studies at the University of Glasgow, and it was published in the Journal of Small Animal Practice. Now these are all well respected veterinary journals, and they don’t publish anything unless it is accurate. This study found that 60% of Glaswegian dogs were overweight. The figure in the United States is around 35%, and in Australia is 41%. So, you have lots of company.
That doesn’t mean you don’t need to do anything about it. Yet another study (yeah, I’m good at quoting them!) showed that dogs that were lean lived on average two years longer than their overweight counterparts, and they were older before they showed signs of age related disease such as arthritis.
So, if you get the weight off your dog, you are improving their quality of life, as well as helping them live longer. It won’t be easy. Anything worthwhile never is.
So, can you rise to the challenge? Join us in our revamped forum where you’ll find veterinary support as you and your dog work towards a healthier, leaner future.