It’s estimated that 40% of dogs (and 53% of cats) are overweight or obese in the UK. While there are a number of factors at play, food is key. We help producers address the issue by developing food products for dog obesity.
With 81% of vets and nurses reporting seeing an increase in the number of overweight animals, it’s clear that pet obesity is a big issue. Just what is the impact of obesity on our dogs?
Dogs’ health risks and life expectancy
Dogs are meant to be active and lean. Pet obesity therefore can lead to a lower quality of life in general and a number of health issues including:
- Breathing problems
- Urine incontinence
- Back problems
- Cruciate ligament problems
A recent study by the University of Liverpool showed how overweight dogs could lose over two years of their lifespan, depending on the breed. They are also less energetic and seem to get less enjoyment out of life.
What should dogs eat?
Dogs are omnivores so can actually eat a wide range of foods including veggies! However, the type and amount of food a dog needs depends on their breed, age, sex, neuter status, health and lifestyle. For instance, a working sheepdog like a Border Collie needs much more energy than a small, mostly housebound Pomeranian. Yet, it’s important regardless of breed to ensure that each dog eats a ‘complete’ food with a wide range of nutrients designed for its life stage.
The Pet Food Manufacturer’s Association (PFMA) is the leading trade body for the UK pet food industry and sets out requirements for food producers (and owners) around food.
Developing food products for dog obesity
While exercise and lifestyle are important factors in maintaining a healthy body weight, food is arguably at the heart of the issue. What’s more, The PDSA PAW Report found that the top reason for pets being overweight is lack of owner recognition of the problem. Every owner needs to take responsibility for creating a feeding plan that delivers nutrition appropriate for their dog – with support from the experts and those of us who develop food. At Doghop, we work with producers to create the right level of nutrition in our pet products, especially dog obesity food.