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  • How to tackle obesity in dogs

    Posted on by Abii Dowdy

    One of the biggest challenges seen by many vets in the UK is having to deal with obese dogs. It is a serious problem that is often overlooked by many owners. Unfortunately, overweight pets are at a higher risk of getting diabetes, heart disease, respiratory and joint conditions. Because of this, Towcester Vets would like to help locals in the area to keep their pet trim and tackle pet obesity once and for all! Take a look at the advice below and don’t forget you can visit any of our small animal clinics to use the pet weighing scales free of charge.



    Be calorie aware

    Did you know that your ‘treats’ are full of calories contributing to your pet’s weight gain? 1 medium Jumbone treat is the human equivalent of eating 3 burgers and half a chocolate bar! 1oz of cheddar cheese is the human equivalent of 1.5 chocolate bars, and a slice of bread equates to 3 bags of crisps. Keep treats to a minimum and try to stick to a portion-controlled diet recommended by your vet. Your vet will also be able to work out how many calories your pet should be eating a day depending on their exercise habits and lifestyle. For example, a working gun dog will need to consume more calories than a retired dog. The calorie intake is also determined on the temperature outside so getting advice from a professional and using a tailored diet will help your pet stay lean and healthy.

    Exercising your pet

    With so many lovely walking routes in the surrounding villages, our local clients have their pick of where to walk their dog! A sedentary lifestyle will always lead to weight gain if your pet’s diet hasn’t been adjusted according to their workload. Again, it is worth talking to your vet at your dog’s annual checkup to determine the best diet for them. If you do struggle to let your dog off their lead, why not consider going to an enclosed paddock designed for dogs? Lots of these are springing up in the local area and are a fantastic way to get dogs that need their own space moving. These paddocks are completely secure and will usually be available to rent individually or with a group of friends. That way you have peace of mind that your dog can get his heart pumping without straying too far!

    Another fun exercise to help keep dogs trim is swimming. Always check that your local water source is safe for your dog to swim in beforehand, but many dogs enjoy a paddle – especially in summer! If you’d rather take your dog to a more controlled environment research your local pet hydrotherapy pool. We always refer clients to Paddocks Farm, Woodford Halse where fun swim sessions can be booked in a purpose-built pool with a trained handler, so dogs can try their paws at swimming safely. Afterwards, they will enjoy a warm shower – almost like going to a dog spa!

    Monitoring your pet

    Keeping on top of your pet’s shape will help owners to realise where their dog has gained weight. To begin with, stand over your pet and look at their waistline. Is there a slight depression behind their rib cage and can you feel their ribs under a small layer of overlying fat? If you can’t then your pet will most likely be overweight. Make sure you weigh your pet regularly and consult your vet with any concerns or abnormalities you may notice. Our clinic has a body condition chart with examples of how your pet should look and feel – this can be seen at your dog’s annual checkup.

    Join a weight clinic

    To actively work on losing weight, Towcester Vets offer a weight management clinic for pets called Podgy Paws! This scheme is run by our experienced nursing team who can body condition score your dog and then work out their correct calorie intake and an exercise regime that can help them lose weight in a controlled regime. They will also be able to advise you about suitable treats and demonstrate how to check your dog’s weight at home. This scheme is free and once your pet reaches their goal weight they will receive a certificate for being a Star Slimmer!


    In conclusion, helping your dog lose weight will ensure they lead a longer and healthier life. Check in with your vet about your dog’s weight at your next checkup and why not register for our Podgy Paws scheme if they need to slim down? Call us on 01327 350239 for more information.