As well as a general loss in quality of life, obese animals suffer from similar health troubles to over-weight humans, such as diabetes, arthritis, respiratory problems, heart disease and certain types of cancer.
The 2014 PDSA Animal Welfare report estimates that one in three dogs in the UK are overweight or obese, and that the proportion of overweight pets will continue to climb.
As in humans, pet obesity can also reduce life expectancy. According to the PDSA, the causes of pet obesity are fairly straightforward: pets are being fed too much and exercised too little. Many owners don’t realise that their dog is overweight, and therefore fail to recognise the additional strain being placed on joints, muscles, tendons and the cardiovascular system.
A large proportion of vets now incorporate weight loss clinics into their practices and this is a great way to understand how you can help your dog achieve a better quality of life. Clinics usually offer services including dietary advice and exercise planning.
Lechlade K9 Centre work closely with vets in the local area to offer a weight loss hydrotherapy programme. The non-weight bearing environment created by hydrotherapy will allow your dog to move more freely and therefore be more active than it could be on land, removing the increased pressure on the joints caused by land based exercise. This increased activity will help to burn off fat, improve your dog’s cardiovascular system and build muscle mass to improve joint support.
Swimming will also act as a mental stimulant and you may well see a marked improvement in your dog’s state of mind, in the pool, when you get home, and as they become more capable during land based exercise.