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Overweight dog? What to do?

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Overweight dog? What to do?

With studies suggesting that around one-third of UK dogs are overweight, it’s clear that greater attention to canine diet is vital. Just like humans, dogs can suffer from all sorts of health problems due to excess pounds. Sore joints, fatigue, Type II diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, skin disease and liver problems in dogs can all be caused or made worse by being overweight. No pet owner would want their dogs to end up with one or more of these unpleasant diseases: sadly, with the dog population getting fatter, a rise in these ailments is almost inevitable.

Life is no fun for an overweight dog

As well as the increased risk of disease, dogs also experience a reduced quality of life when they are obese. Walks become less fun; dogs may find it difficult to find a comfortable position in which to rest, due to an unwanted spare tyre and too much of the wrong sort of food can also cause digestive problems. Stomach aches, wind, flatulence, constipation or diarrhoea are also common and skin can become itchy or dry, which is uncomfortable and can lead to excessive scratching. The scratching, in turn, can lead to further skin issues.

Why do dogs become overweight?

Again, the answer to this question is very much the same as the reasons that humans become overweight: not only do they get given too much food to eat, they also get given the wrong sort of food to eat. Like humans, dogs are drawn to calorie-dense foods and will happily eat as much as you give them! Giving dogs human food, sharing snacks or providing high-calorie rewards for good behaviour can all mean that your dog ends up with far more calories than they actually need. Paradoxically, many overweight dogs are also malnourished, as their nutrition quality is poor, consisting of too many empty calories rather than good, solid nutrition.

What can I do if my dog is overweight?

Clearly, if your dog is overweight, the first thing to do is to establish why. Although in most cases canine obesity is simply down to diet, it’s worth getting your pet checked over by a vet to make sure there aren’t any underlying issues. If it’s clear that the main reason for the excess weight is too much food, placing your dog on a nutritious, low-calorie diet is the next step. Choosing a good grain-free food with healthy ingredients (always check out the ingredients before buying!) may the best way to help your dog lose weight. Alternatively, simply reducing the amount your dog is given to eat may be enough to encourage weight loss.

Treats for dogs on a diet

Although dogs absolutely do not need treats in order to be happy and healthy, many owners can’t resist treating their pet now and then. Treats can also be helpful in reinforcing good behaviour. A healthy choice for dogs on a diet is a wheat-free treat. Made from high-quality ingredients which haven’t been “bulked out” with wheat, wheat-free treats contain just a few premium ingredients such as meat, gravy and potatoes. These foods contain valuable nutrients, ensuring your dog ends up with a treat that actually does them good, rather than simply being empty calories. Highly palatable, wheat-free treats are also gentle on the stomach – a real advantage for older or less well dogs. The treats are also small ones! This means that one or two a day won’t add significantly to daily calorie intake, helping your dog to win the inch-loss war! If you want a tasty, nutrient dense snack that adds value to a dog’s diet, wheat-free treats can work really well.

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Signs that your dog is suffering from a food allergy

Signs that your dog is suffering from a food allergy

It’s horrible to see your pooch miserable. It’s even worse when an upset stomach is plaguing them for no apparent reason. Recurring symptoms of diarrhoea, scratching and ear infections no matter how common they are, is not normal and is a sure sign that something isn’t quite right.

If you’ve taken your beloved fur baby to the vets and have gotten the all-clear for any nasty parasites, you’ll want to start checking Fido for a food allergy.

That’s right – food allergies are just as rife in dogs as they are in humans with the most common allergies being beef, dairy and wheat – all though, this is not exclusive.

So, what should you look out for if you suspect your dog of having a food allergy?

1. Gastrointestinal problems

Vomiting and diarrhoea are a sure sign that body is rejecting something. Due to your dog’s inquisitive nature, it is not unlikely that he will get V&D at some point in their life from something they have eaten that they shouldn’t have! However, if the vomiting and diarrhoea is becoming an ongoing problem, it may be a sign that they are rejecting the over-invading protein.

2. Itching and scratching

Food allergies tend to affect your dog’s skin. If Fido continues to eat a diet where an allergic-response was caused, he will start to form a hyposensitivity to it which will most commonly manifest in their skin causing irritation. No matter how many doses or Benadryl or Claritin your fur baby is given, if an allergy is present, the symptoms will continue.

3. Recurrent ear infections

More than 2 or 3 ear infections a year can be another telltale sign that Fido is suffering from an allergy. Although yeast infections and “swimmers ear” tend to be common in dogs, causing similar symptoms, it is the frequency of ear infections that may suggest an underlying allergy. Be sure to look out for any build-up inside the ear, any smells excreting from the ear, or if poor Fido is shaking and scratching the ear on a regular basis.

4. A change in nail beds

It can be difficult to check, depending on what breed of dog and what colour coat they have, but a red or brown colour of Fido’s nail beds is another sign of an inflammatory response. Your dog’s nails should be white with a hint of pink, so if your dog’s nails are a bloody red colour, a bronzed colour, or they are appearing to lick the area often, and it is not caused by some sort of food trauma, then it’s time to start the elimination process.

5. Redness or browning around the lips

If your dog’s coat is white, then this will be a lot more obvious for you to see. A yeast colonisation, triggered by a food allergy, will cause pink or red inflamed lips and jowls. After you have ruled out any yeast infections, it’s time to seriously consider the possibility of an allergy.

What to do?

So, what next? Once you’ve ruled out other possibilities or infections for the ongoing symptoms with the help of your veterinarian, it’s time to start an elimination diet. This is the only sure-fire way to diagnose a food allergy accurately.

Contrary to popular belief, putting Fido on rice and cooked chicken to allow their stomachs to heal is not a good move. The chicken can be too rich for their bodies to process and you never know, chicken could be the culprit.

Try moving Fido on a grain free diet, using grain free treats to subsidise their meals, and putting him on food he’s never had before to give him some time to improve. To help speed up the recovery process, you may want to consider some probiotics for dogs and vitamin e and omega 3 6 9 for dogs. Once you’ve given your dog some time to recuperate and see the symptoms reduce, it’s important to start reintroducing the old suspicious foods one at a time. This does take some time, as a triggered reaction can take from a few days to a few weeks so be sure to be patient, and prepare for a slightly lengthy process.

Having a dog with a suspected food allergy can seem like the most frustrating thing, and it can be incredibly upsetting to see them unwell. But rest assured, that once the culprit of the food allergy is found, it is all plain sailing from there on out!

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What should I feed my Husky? | Learn the basics

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What should I feed my Husky? | Learn the basics

Huskies are athletic by nature. Therefore, their dietary needs are different from the majority of dogs. If you’re having a hard time choosing the best dog food for huskies, you are not alone! It is a difficult task for many dog owners.

In terms of feeding, Husky dogs are easy to maintain because they’re not picky eaters.

Many Husky dog owners are tempted to buy the most popular products, which shouldn’t be the case. A brand’s popularity doesn’t guarantee the quality of dog food it produces. Below are some nutritional guidelines you can follow to properly feed your Husky.

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Four ways to reduce flatulence in dogs

Gracie taught me the joy of rolling in the grass... by Bennilover CC 6.0

Four ways to reduce flatulence in dogs

Being the owner of a dog that passes a lot of gas can be embarrassing and unpleasant. Some breeds, like Boxers and Bulldogs, are naturally more flatulent than others, but if you think your dog’s flatulence is excessive, there may be some things you can do to help ease the problem…

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Why switch to grain-free food for your pooch this summer?

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Why switch to grain-free food for your pooch this summer?

The summer is well on its way and we couldn’t be more excited. For dog owners, this means lighter evenings and warmer days to take your pooch for a walk, which is a huge bonus. Not only that, but it also means it’s a great time to review your pet’s diet and ensure it’s the best and healthiest it can be.

As we head into the warmer months, your pet’s diet can have a huge impact on their behaviour and well-being, so it’s important to know what’s best for your dog. One way of doing this is to look at the benefits of grain-free treats…

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Top tips for when putting your dog on a diet

Top tips for when putting your dog on a diet

Are you concerned that your dog is overweight? Perhaps they have a pot belly or feel much heavier when you lift them up. If you are concerned, then the likelihood is that your dog is overweight. In most cases, the average household dog is 15% overweight! This is when you need to take action. Below we share some helpful tips when you need to put your dog on a diet…

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How to know if your dog needs a diet change

How to know if your dog needs a diet change

As a pet owner, you are most likely used to feeding your dog a specific routine diet, such as high-quality dry food for dogs, or a mix of raw foods and dry foods. However, have you ever wondered if your dog may need a change in their diet to help them stay happy and healthy?

To determine whether your dog needs a shift in their diet, there are a few things you should be looking out for. We discuss some of the signs below…

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The best healthy treats for your dog

The best healthy treats for your dog

We love to give our dogs a treat, they are our best friends after all. When it comes to giving your dog a treat, whether it’s for general love or for training, then it’s important that the treats you are giving them are healthy and appropriate for them. There are certain foods that dogs simply cannot be fed, these include chocolate, avocados, grapes and lots more. However, there are plenty of healthy dog treats for your furry friend. Keep reading to check out the best healthy dog treats to give your pet…

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