ONE IN FOUR DOGS OVERWEIGHT
Dogs handed into rescue charities are more overweight than ever before because of the fast-paced lifestyles of their owners, experts say.
On average, nearly a quarter of the dogs currently coming into the Dogs Trust Harefield rehoming centre in Uxbridge, West London, are classed as overweight or obese.
The charity suspects the main reason behind the overweight dogs is busy owners feeding their pets too much, perhaps fuelled in many cases by guilt over not having the time to give them enough exercise.
Owners may feel guilty about not being able to give their dog the exercise so may give their dog a treat to counteract the guilt.
When they see how much it's enjoyed, they give their dogs yet more treats which becomes an unhealthy cycle.
Richard Moore, rehoming centre manager at Dogs Trust Harefield, has been working in animal welfare for more than 20 years.
He said: "I have certainly seen an increase over time of overweight dogs - we take in around 20 dogs a week and around 1 in 4 of these is overweight.
"It used to be that dogs coming to us were underweight but overweight dogs are coming through our doors more often now.
"We suspect people do not have time to give their dogs the exercise they once were able to.
“Everyone has a fast-paced lifestyle and a quick walk around the block is an easier option than the longer walk a dog often needs.
"Many owners are unaware that a standard chewy bone can have around 600 calories and it is important to consider this in a dog’s total calorific intake."
Suzi, a seven-month-old pug, was 7kg when she was handed to Dogs Trust Harefield earlier this year. She has already lost 0.5kg through more exercise and a healthier diet. The average weight for a female pug of her size is under 6kg.
Mr Moore added: "It is all about diet and exercise. Getting out on longer walks can also help the owners become healthier too. It's just about getting the right balance for a happy animal."
And another dog admitted to Dogs Trust Harefield in the last six months - Connor, a seven-year-old flat coated retriever - took four people to lift him from his former home into a van to take him back to the centre. He weighed a staggering 51.6kg.
Ariel Brunn, Dogs Trust Veterinary Surgeon explains “Extra weight can compromise an animal’s health so any dog owner concerned about their dog’s health who wants their dog to lose weight should seek advice from a vet."