There is clear evidence in human and veterinary medicine supporting that carrying too much body weight is not good for arthritis. Not only through the actual weight of the fat but also due to the effect it has on the inflammation within the joints due to the compounds that live in the fat.
If your dog is overweight (greater than Body Condition Score 5 out of 9) weight reduction alone will significantly improve their condition.
How can I reduce my dog’s weight?
Weight loss can be achieved by either changing what you feed, how much you feed, how you feed, when you feed, the options to tackle this problem are endless, and something your vets are well trained in to support you.
If your dog has a body condition score greater than 5/9, they need to lose that excess weight and excess fat.
Many vet practices have their own weight clinics, with nurses well trained in nutrition. The formality of a regular weigh-in with the same caring face is often a very good incentive to stick to a weight reduction plan and hit your targets.
Everyone in the household must be involved. It can take a lot of self-control and it’s no good having your partner or children feeding treats behind your back!
Here are some tips from CAM.
- Look at what you feed, how much you feed, how you feed, how often you feed and when you feed. By considering adjusting other elements of feeding you will have more weight management options.
- Leave one person in the household in charge of feeding to ensure consistency in the routine and quantity. Encourage them to use scales if feeding kibble.
- Record your dog’s weight weekly in a way the whole family can see.
- Weight may not change immediately but there might still be a difference: measure your pet with a tape measure directly behind the elbows and directly in front of the knees. Make a note for future reference.
- Put reminders around the house that your dog is on a diet.
- Remove temptation and hide away all the dog treats.
- Discourage friends, colleagues and other dog walkers from offering your dog treats.
- Feed your dog in a ‘Kong’ or another delayed feeding device or scatter feed in the garden or on the floor. This will slow down eating and reduce the pleading eyes for more!
- Start indoor exercises to encourage further weight loss as well as improve muscular strength.
- Remember that weight loss is more effective with dietary change than increased exercise.