The Importance for Your Dog’s Health
It is now widely accepted that obesity is a human disease that predisposes us to a range of chronic disease states including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, liver disease, respiratory disease, neoplasia, and osteoarthritis as well as an increase in all-cause mortality.
Vets now acknowledge that obesity is also an important medical disease in dogs which has alarming implications for dog’s health, wellbeing and overall quality of life.
A 2019 report indicated that 51% of dogs were either obese or overweight up from 45% in the previous report in 2015.
The rise in number of overweight dogs is of increasing concern to vets as these dogs are at significant risk of suffering from preventable chronic diseases including diabetes mellitus, osteoarthritis, and urinary incontinence . Increased adiposity can adversely affect respiratory function [2, 3], cause metabolic derangements (a cluster of conditions that disturb or disrupt the normal order of the body and metabolic processes) including insulin resistance [4, 5, 6, 7], and renal function and health .
Worse still, research shows that being obese or overweight leads to a shortened lifespan , something none of us would knowingly wish on any member of our family, least of all our precious dogs.
Unsurprisingly our dogs’ diets and exercise levels are at the heart of the canine obesity crisis.
Exercising your dog is as beneficial for their health and wellbeing as it is for you.
Not only does the energy expended help to utilise the energy they get from their food it also helps to maintain healthy organ function, maintain muscle mass and stronger bones as well as lowering the risk of inflammation and the impacts this can have on their health and ageing in general.
Adding to the health benefits of exercise is the enjoyment dogs get from being outside – social animals that they are it is their opportunity to socialise with other people and their dogs and to sniff the goings on of the day – a proper trip out!
A recommended minimum of daily exercise for a dog is 30-40 minutes a day, however many dogs will need more than this. For many breeds, an hour of exercise a day would be an optimum level of activity. If your dog needs to lose weight, try to increase the amount of exercise they currently do. If they are doing little to no exercise, start with short intervals of walking, say 15 minutes, twice a day. If they’re already exercising, lengthening their walk and other exercise activities by 10-20% will be beneficial to their weight control (and their general enjoyment of life and health!).
Diet is an altogether more complex issue and the most important in your dog’s weight control.
The general rule of thumb for weight control or loss for humans and dogs is 60-70% diet and 30-40% exercise.
We all relish the obvious anticipation and enjoyment our dogs display at mealtimes and because of the feel-good effect this has on our sense of ‘doing the best’ by them, and the enjoyment this gives us, are often responsible for over-feeding them.
It’s easy for us to overestimate the impact of physical activity on weight maintenance. So even for active dogs, it’s important to establish clear guidelines for daily caloric intake to ensure we are not ‘killing’ them with love.
To ensure the successful long-term management of your dog’s weight, it’s essential to establish accurately how much to feed them. This means knowing the number of calories your dog needs every day.
The calories they require each day is a requirement based on many factors other than their exercise level, including your dog’s breed, size and weight, activity levels, age and whether they’re spayed or neutered.
Most dog food feeding guidelines are very broad with inaccurate weight to calorie requirement guidelines and are standardised based on active adult dogs (over a year old for most breeds) for all life stages – adult through to senior.
For example, if your dog is not particularly active and spayed or neutered, their daily energy requirement is likely to be 20-30% less than an active, intact dog. It is very easy to overestimate the amount of food you should be feeding your dog, and just like us once the weight is on it’s more difficult to shift, putting them at risk of all the health (and quality of life) issues being overweight brings.
Most of us use a scoop or cup rather than electric scales if only to get our dog’s food into their bowls to satisfy the mealtime zoomies! Research from the University of Guelph showed that using a scoop or measuring cup can lead to us feeding our dogs wildly different amounts of food from ranged from a 47% underestimation to a 152% overestimation in the volume of food measured. (10) As is to be expected, those using electronic scales measured correct weight extremely accurately.
The potential to overfeed can lead to the multitude of health risks associated with our dogs being overweight or obese.
Fibre plays as important a role in your dog’s diet and health as it does in your own.
Our dogs live for the sensation of enjoying a wonderfully tasty meal and feeling full and satiated – fibre is the key to that feeling of satisfaction.
Unfortunately, dogs, like humans, generally eat too little fibre as part of their daily diet which often leaves them feeling less satisfied and full and craving more food.
Fibre is a key element in weight management and effectively controlling your dog’s weight. This without the additional health benefits fibre plays in aiding their digestion, improving their microbiome, reducing anal sac issues and improving stool quality.
In conclusion it is very important that your dog not only gets all the nutrients they need from their food to ensure their best health, but also ensure their weight is managed without them feeling hungry and unsatisfied after their meals.
Bonza 100% natural plant-based dog food is formulated to provide your dog with the appropriate level of plant-based fibre to leave them feeling full and satisfied after their meals and for a longer period. After all none of us wants to feel like our dogs are ‘starving’ and anxious for their next meal.
Our feeding calculator uses an algorithm to accurately establish a personalised meal plan, calculating the exact of amount of food your dog should be eating every day to manage their weight, prevent overfeeding and keep your dog in peak condition. We strongly recommend using electronic scales or feeding bowl to provide your dog with an accurate portion of food for each meal based on their individual needs.