Regrettably, an increasing number of dogs brought into veterinary practices are overweight, ranging from 10 to almost 50 per cent. We wanted to see if we could do something about it, and with the help of a couple of veterinary nurses we became involved in an eight-week weight-loss challenge.
This involved the fundamentals of weight loss: diet and exercise. Tailored to age, we put each dog on a special dry food formula, along with up to 20 minutes of walking twice a day, and a regular swimming session at a special canine swimming pool, with weigh-ins scheduled on a weekly basis.
The pool sessions provided the biggest talking point. To begin with, most of the dogs needed to be fitted with special doggie life jackets, but with practice most not only learnt to swim without them, we had trouble keeping them out of the water!
At the end there had to be a winner, and first place came in with a fantastic result, losing over 10 per cent of its total body weight. The overall and unexpected result of the trial was the improvement in the socialisation skills of each dog. Their owners remarked on how much more active and alert their pets were, and how they too had found enjoyment from the program. The best thing is that every dog is going to continue with the exercise routine and diet. If your dog needs to downsize, you can do it!