Preventing Weight Gain for Dogs in Lockdown

DrPaul -

Preventing Weight Gain for Dogs in Lockdown

The ongoing restrictions we’ve seen during the COVID-19 pandemic, continue to cause disruption to both our’s and our dog’s lives. The snack cupboard for many has swung on its hinges more times than it perhaps normally would…

Prior to the pandemic reports on pet obesity had continued to see an alarming upward trend with stats revealing that nearly half of UK dogs, almost 46%are classed as being overweight or obese. Now with more research and reports coming in from 2020, the pandemic has done little to help with this ongoing crisis in our pet’s waist lines. At least 8% of dog owners report noticing that their dog had put on weight during lockdown last year, that is a staggering 790,000 dogs. In addition at least 16% of owners admitted to feeding more treats and 10% confessed to feeding more human foods whilst they have been home more with their dogs.

So what can we do to stop this pandemic become a canine obesity crisis?

‘A regular feeding routine is the key….’
A regular and consistent routine will ensure that your dog (and maybe even your human self) sticks to regular meals at set times of the day. Here are some important tips when building this all important routine:

● Weigh out your dogs’ food the night before for each day and portion into set meals.
● Feed at the same time every day-it won’t take long for your dog to get used to their routine.
● If your dog has got used to treats or snacking leave a portion of their normal food to one side for treats. This will mean your dog still thinks they are getting their treats but it will be within their daily calorie requirements.
● Do not be tempted to feed your dog human foods. Unfortunately most human foods are very high in calories. Feeding your dog just one slice of buttered toast is the equivalent of us eating one hamburger. Even some dog treats are worryingly high in calories with just one 7oz rawhide bone being the human equivalent of 10 whole donuts!!!
● If you cannot get your dog’s food from the supermarket or your online delivery is late it is perfectly safe to feed your dog a simple, easily digestible bland diet of chicken (skin off) or white fish with rice or pasta and vegetables. This would be far better than substituting with a different commercial brand or high calorie human food alternatives which could lead to digestive upsets.

Lastly with the pandemic there have been ever changing restrictions to veterinary services. If your dog is on a specialist or prescription diet and you are unable to temporarily get a hold of your dog's food do not panic! Vets will remain open for food and medication collections and if there is an issue with ordering your dogs normal food they will be able to advise you of an alternative solution that is safe for your dog’s condition.

Paul Manktelow

Veterinary Surgeon

Dr Paul Manktelow is a vet who's worked for almost 20 years on the front line in some of the UK's busiest veterinary hospitals. Paul also appears regularly in the media as a TV and radio presenter, writer, public speaker and podcast producer.