Why is it that our pooches in Britain are getting porkier? Its a shocking fact that according to the PDSA one in three dogs is now clinically obese – not just a little plump, and that our hounds are piling on the pounds.
Back in James Herriot’s day vets didn’t run ‘diet-clubs’ or weigh-ins for dogs. Fat related health conditions like diabetes weren’t on the radar for dogs, yet these days most practices have a ‘weight watchers for dogs. Vets offer ‘lite’ diets and shelves of processed foods, something that wasn’t available back in the day.
In simple terms if you eat too many calories and don’t exercise enough, you put on weight. We understand that a chocolate bar is more fattening than eating an apple, and eating ‘junk-foods’ and processed meals are more calorific and less nutritious than fresh food. How many of us think like this about our dog’s food?
The majority of us feed a dry complete brand of dog food as its convenient, cheap and marketed as a balanced meal. It’s not highlighted that dry food is dense in calories and carb heavy. Many dog owners are unaware that dogs are facultative carnivores by nature. This means they’re pre-programmed to eat meat, offal, vegetables, herbs and berries. Their digestive system is designed to get their energy from protein and fat, not from carbohydrate.
Reducing your dog’s calorie intake is simple by cutting down on kibble and gradually replacing it some minced beef or chicken and grated carrot. Chopped apple is a great alternative to biscuits for treats. Increase your dog’s exercise – most dogs according to the PDSA don’t get enough ‘heart thumping’ exercise that burns fat. Even older dogs benefit from a minimum 40 minutes brisk walk twice daily.
Unlike us dogs don’t understand the concept of being fat and don’t worry about fitting into a pair of jeans, but their health and wellbeing is our responsibility.
Written by Anna Webb from Barking Blondes Anna Webb is a Broadcaster, author and natural nutritionist and is pictured here with her dog Molly