How to Keep a Dog in Good Health

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How to determine if your dog is overweight

During the frosty Winter months, I must admit I can be slightly neglectful of my dog, as I don’t walk him as much as I should. Because I would prefer to snuggle up with him on the sofa, under a blanket and share a bag a salted popcorn while watching Peaky Blinders. Instead of having to wrap up and face the cold outdoors and then get him clean and dry when we get back home.

However, as much as he loves snuggles I know that he would much prefer running after his favourite pink ball in the large fields behind my house. While we're sitting watching TV or when his by my side at my desk, he does have a habit of hypnotising me with those beautiful brown eyes, tilting his head with his ears up, a cheeky smile and tapping me repeatably to give him food, sometimes I do give him some, but I try my best not to give in. My laziness to choose the sofa over walking him and giving into his repeated nudges to feed him naughty treats over the past few frosty winter months has resulted in my Blue Merle Border collie gaining weight.

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To help me become a more responsible fur baby mother, Eukanuba got in touch with me to educate me on my responsibility of being a pet owner and the importance of ensuring our dogs enjoy an active lifestyle and a healthy balanced diet so they stay in peak condition and at an optimal body weight.

It’s alarming how 45% of UK pets are overweight, so it’s important that we as pet owners ensure our furry companions are healthy and active. But getting your dog on the scales is not the best way to distinguish if your dog is overweight, just like us dogs are all different, they come in different shapes, breeds and sizes so it’s difficult to say what a healthy weight for your dog looks like.

Vets and nurses use a simple but effective technique called ‘body condition scoring’ based on both a visual and tactile assessment of their body to figure out if your dog is underweight, thin, ideal, overweight or obese. Depending on the score you can then make some necessary changes to your pet’s diet and activity levels.

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Body condition scoring guide

The body condition scoring is based on a 1-5 system, a score of 1 identifies your dog as underweight whereas 5 confirms your pet is obese. The ideal body condition score is 3, suggesting that you’re doing a fantastic job at keeping your dog fit and healthy and to simply maintain what your doing. If your dog scores a 4 they need to lose 10-20% body fat or 20-30%+ if they score a 5.

To help your pet lose weight they need a healthy nutritional diet, be given the correct amount of food based on the size of the dog and have regular exercise, ideally running after a ball.

Body Condition Score: 1

Emaciated: Your dog has protruding ribs, a visible lower back and pelvic bones. There is an absence of muscle mass, no visible covering of fat and obvious abdominal tuck.

Body Condition Score: 2

Thin: You can easily feel your pet’s ribs, as there is a minimum covering of fat. Their waist can be easily seen from above and there is a visible abdominal tuck.

Body Condition Score: 3

Ideal: Ribs can be felt but are not protruding. Your dog’s waist can be seen behind the ribs when viewed from above and the abdomen appears tucked up when viewed from the side.

Body Condition Score: 4

Overweight: The ribs are only palpable by pushing through a thin layer of excess fat and your pet’s waist can still be observed from above, but not as prominently. Their abdominal tuck may be less evident.

Body Condition Score: 5

Obese: You are unable to feel your dog’s ribs due to a heavy covering of fat. Their waist is barely discernible, and their abdomen may be sagging, with excess fat deposits on lower back and base of tail.

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How to get your dog fit and healthy, dog dietiing tips!

For your dog to be fit and healthy they need a 100% complete and balanced diet, with premium nutrition, made with high quality animal protein. This is essential to enable dogs to build strong, lean muscles and keep them ready to take on any challenge they encounter while on an adventure with you, whether that’s in the park running for the ball or enjoying an inclined hike with you at the weekend somewhere.

Dogs should enjoy a balanced diet of high quality nutritional food such as Eukanuba and regular exercise. Eukanuba dog food provides a 100% complete and balanced diet to suit various breeds of dogs, with different lifestyles and life stages.

For example, Eukanuba Puppy supports healthy development and increased trainability in puppies through the inclusion of DHA, while Eukanuba Adult has a tailored balance of omega 6 and 3 to promote a shiny coat and nourished skin. Eukanuba Mature and Senior supports strong joints through tailored levels of calcium and has a unique 3D DentaDefense system which helps to maintain strong teeth and healthy gums. In addition, Eukanuba NaturePlus+, available in both Wheat and Grain Free variants, is made with no added artificial flavours, colourants or GMOs, to provide dogs with natural and clinically proven benefits tailored to their breed size and life stage.

Sticking to a healthy exercise and eating plan for your dog doesn’t mean you have to deprive your furry best friend of treats, but instead replace treats with healthier alternatives such as Eukanuba Healthy Biscuits.

Try to avoid sharing human food with your dog, it may seem ‘cruel’ at first, but after awhile they’ll soon learn not to pester you and they’ll reap the benefits of being fitter and healthier. Just like humans, being overweight can cause health problems, so as pet owners it’s our responsibility to ensure our furry best friends stay happy, active and as healthy as can be.


Disclaimer: In collaboration with Eukanuba.