Each year obesity becomes an increasing concern as the statistics for dog obesity creep higher year after year. Veterinarinarians urge pet owners to take dog obesity serious as it can lead to further medical complications. In fact, obesity frequently leads to your dog developing arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease. Studying statistics, obesity is the biggest health and wellness concern in the UK, according to 60% of veterinarians.
1 in 14
RVC study found that 1 in 14 dogs in the UK are obese
PFMA study recorded that vets think 51% of dogs are overweight or obese.
Clinical studies by PDSA in 2022 found that 65% of dogs are obese or overweight.
PFMA study also recorded that 41% of pet owners believe feeding scraps is a key reason for obesity.
In 2020, 78% of veterinary professionals told PDSA that they had seen an increase in pet obesity over the last 2 years.
How Do I Know If My Dog Is Overweight?
To check if you're dog is overweight, you need to look at your dog from above and from the sides. A dog that is an ideal weight should have a tucked-in waist and should not be bulging out. In addition to that, you should easily feel your dog's ribs, spine and hip bones without them sticking out. Finally, there should not be a build-up of fat where the tail meets the back.
Below we have a body condition chart for you to look at and compare with your dog:
Ribs, spine and pelvic bones are easily visible in short-haired dogs.
Ribs, Spine and Pelvic bones are not visible (may be seen during play or exercise) but can easily be felt under a thin layer of fat.
Obvious tucked-in waist.
Little abdominal fat.
Difficult to feel ribs, spine and pelvic bones.
The waist is absent.
Fat deposits are visible over the body.
Minimal abdominal tuck after ribs.
Unable to feel ribs under a thick layer of fat.
No waist, fat hangs from the abdomen.
Back is obviously broadened
Here are a few shocking statistics!
Only 12% of dog owners told PFMA have looked at a body condition chart for their dog.
According to a PFMA study, 67% of dog owners admit that they are not concerned about obesity.
82% of dog owners told PDSA that they believed their dog was the ideal weight. Whereas only 1% believed their dog was obese.
Health Risks of Obesity
As vets have expressed, obesity in dogs should be taken seriously as, in most cases, obesity leads to other health issues which can be life-threatening. See below the health risks that can occur from obesity:
Urinary tract disorder
Causes of Obesity in Dogs
The first cause of obesity is a dog's diet. Overfeeding your dog can easily be done by not reading the food guidelines, feeding too many treats or feeding human food as well as your dog's normal food amount.
According to PFMA, 88% of vets believe that a key reason for the rise in obesity is overfeeding, with owners not following the product's feeding guidelines.
PFMA found that 98% of vets think excessive treating contributes most to obesity.
PDSA found that 60% of pet owners admitted to regularly giving their pets human food.
Another cause of obesity in dogs is a lack of exercise. It is essential for your dog to exercise on a regular basis in order to keep your dog in shape and especially for their mental health.
Studies carried out by PFMA found that 80% of vets believe lack of exercise contributes to obesity.
They also found that 44% of pet owners believe lack of exercise contributes to obesity.
Keeping Your Dog Active
The level of exercise your dog needs is dependent on their breed, age, current fitness level and if your dog has any health issues. For example, an adult Chihuahua does not need as much exercise as a Border Collie, and a senior dog does not need as much exercise as a 3-year-old dog.
By searching your breed online, you are able to find how much exercise your dog needs specifically.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to Exercise Overweight Dog
Low-impact activities such as walking, swimming and hiking are a great start to help your dog lose weight.
A high-impact activity such as running can help with burning additional activities. However, please check with your vet if your dog has any health issues that may stop this from happening.
Low Fat Dog Treats
As you've read, 98% of vets think excessive treating is one of the main causes of obesity. Unfortunately, there are a lot of dog treats on the market that are high in calories which makes it incredibly easy to overfeed. With this, many dog owners also forget to decrease the intake of their dog's daily food when feeding more treats.
Low-fat dog treats reduce the chances of a dog owner from overfeeding their dog and are especially great for dogs on a diet. Being able to reward your dog, even if they're on a diet, is important. This is even more essential when you're training your dog.