It’s been a joke since lockdown began all the way back in March, but now that restrictions are lifting and summer is upon us, we’ve had a few concerned pet parents mention how their beloved lappie has put on a bit of extra weight during quarantine.
This can be due to a few reasons.
- Less walks or doggie activities due to the lack of shows, trials and general meetups
- More snacks due to family being home more (especially kids!)
- Dogs getting older or their metabolism slowing down
Underneath all that fluff, it can be hard to notice when your Lapphund is putting on weight.
Is your dog overweight?
One easy way to tell is the rib test. At ideal weight, a dog’s ribs should be easily felt without putting much pressure along their side. An easy test at home is by placing your hand palm facing down, and with your other hand feeling your knuckles on that hand. Your dogs ribs should feel just like that.
So what’s so bad about your dog being overweight?
Obesity in dogs, much like obesity in humans, can cause many health problems and ultimately lead to shortening your beloved pet’s life.
Known health conditions directly affected by obesity include:
- Increased risk of cancer
- Increased risk of diabetes
- Increased risk of heart conditions
- Faster degeneration of joints
Dogs can’t understand the risks involved and are often happy to eat and eat regardless of how much is good for them. This means the responsibility of regulating your pet’s diet and weight falls solely on you.
If you have noticed your dog has put on a little weight over quarantine, it’s important to first look at the possible reasons. If nothing has changed in terms of diet and exercise and your dog has suddenly gained significant weight, it’s important to visit your vet to rule out any underlying health issues first.
If you believe the issue might be an increase in snacks or meals, lay out everything your dog would typically eat in a day on your bench, it may surprise you just how much they’re actually being fed over the course of the day.
If you rely on snacks to keep your dog quiet while on an important work call, you can cut down their dinners instead to even out their food. Another cause may be as simple as your dog not being a puppy any more!
While puppies often require a few meals a day to support their growing bodies, adults (especially those who have been desexed) require far less food. At some point your puppy may ‘go off’ his food and stop finishing it. At this point your pup is telling you he doesn’t need as much and you should start reducing his portions. If your puppy doesn’t do this on his own, you should start monitoring at 9 months to ensure they stay a healthy weight.
Puppy food is packed full of extras that an older dog doesn’t need, and for some dogs they reach that stage earlier. Don’t tempt them with more food, offer extra snacks or bribes. Reduce their serve by 1/3 and monitor them for a few days. Make small adjustments until you find the sweet spot, where they’re satisfied and they’re not gaining excess fat on their ribs.
If you’re ever unsure whether your dog is a healthy weight, you can speak to your vet or a trusted member of the FLCV for advice.
– Alice Maree