By nature, dogs are a wonderful companion for many people because of their boundless enthusiasm, natural playfulness and fierce loyalty to their owners. Carrying extra weight can reduce your dog's energy, make them less curious and more lethargic. On your next visit, we are able to support you with any questions you may have regarding your dog's weight and diet.
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It won't surprise you that the common reason for canine obesity is overeating and lack of exercise. Unlike us, canine companions cannot decide to take more exercise or eat less, so it’s crucial we, as their owners, employ the lifestyle changes needed to maintain a healthy weight.
Your veterinary team at Maven Vets can help you with this. After conducting a physical examination and establiushing more about your dog’s lifestyle, your vet will be able to help put together a realistic, long-term and sustainable weight-loss plan. It’s often as simple as encouraging more exercise and reducing the calorie intake.
Make your move
Exercise and walking with your dog can be fun. Taking them for a walk, playing with them in your garden and using kibble filled toys inside can keep your dog strong, entertained and healthy. For older dogs, walks will help with their joints and muscles too.
Here are a range of ideas of how you can maintain their fitness at home:
1. Focus on agility by creating your own obstacle course:
This depends on the space you have available, however creating something for your dog to jump over, run through or skip around is a fun way to introduce exercise at home – either indoors or in the garden. You don’t have to have professional equipment, using soft items such as cushions can provide them with a low-risk obstacle.
2. Play hide and seek:
Find a place to hide in a different room to your dog. Once hidden, call them and encourage them to use their senses to find you. This not only provides joy for them when they find you but keeps them active. Don't get too excited and give the game away too early though...
3. Playing games to earn rewards:
By hiding their treats around the house, you can make them earn their reward – not only allowing them to exercise but keeping them mentally active in the process. There are also a range of interactive toys available which will stimulate both their mind and body.
4. Try and teach your dog something new:
If you never have the time to try and teach your dog a new trick or an activity – now might be the ideal time. Just remember to not overly-reward the activity, otherwise you’ll defeat the object. You could use a proportion of their daily food allowance for treats.
5. Get some new toys:
There is plenty of research to suggest that dogs love a new toy. Playing with the same toys over and over will create bordem for them, but rotating their toys will keep them interested and encourage activity.
6. Play fetch:
Do you have the space to play fetch with your dog? If you can find a space to throw a ball or toy, your dog will love to return it… or maybe now is the time to try and train them to return it? Maybe down your hallway or from inside the house to out?
Rewarding behaviour is a good way of encouraging your dog to participate in activities. However, overfeeding your pet could result in obesity – which can result in greater stress on bones, heart, lungs and other organs. Reducing after-dinner scraps and reducing treats in-between mealtimes will help.
For any questions you may have, please book one of our weight clinics and speak to our friendly team.