It can often feel like you are being criticised when your pet's weight is commented upon. But here we are all about no judgement support for dog owners so let's talk about why your dogs weight is important and some minor changes you might want to make to ensure your dogs have a good quality of life.
Is your dog gaining weight?
First step is to ask, "How much should my dog weigh?” and “What body condition score should my dog have and how do I check it?”.
Now your dogs weight will depend on their muscle mass, breed and size so best bet here is to speak with your vet and ask for a personalised weight goal for your individual dog.
But body condition scoring or BCS is much easier to use and is much more universal.
BCS looks at how our dogs look and feel and not just their weight but the distribution of that weight- is it fat or muscle?
Below you can find an example of a body condition scoring chart.
So what should you do if you notice your pets weight or body condition score go over the ideal?
If you feel your pet may be overweight book an appointment with your local vet or vet nurse, to talk through your pet’s diet. Once you have a controlled balanced diet for your pet try not to feed them anything else. Want to give them a treat? Take it out of their daily food ratio or choose healthy treats and reduce their daily food intake.
So let's circle back to why does my pet's weight matter?
Dogs who are overweight struggle more with joint issues such as OA causing them more pain and lowering their quality of life. These dogs also experience more pain in their joints just like us the more weight you put through a painful joint the more painful it becomes and the harder it is to move so then it becomes harder to move and you end up stuck in a vicious cycle. This leads to more joint damage causing more pain!
Reducing your dogs weight along with improving their joint function helps them stay pain-free and improves the length and quality of their lives.
How can I help?
Number 1 by not judging you but working with you to get your dog to a place where they are happy and healthy. I can give you an at home exercise program to maintain or improve your dogs movement making it easier for them to gain muscle and lose weight.
Number 2 Hydrotherapy is a great way to reduce weight whilst still promoting healthy movement patterns and joint health. The pressure of the water makes our dogs hearts and lungs work harder than on land helping them lose weight quicker without any risk of joint damage from carrying excess weight.