As dog owners, we are solely responsible for this obesity epidemic that is also taking place in the canine world. DR RENEE PIGDON

Over the years there have been increasing health concerns in people regarding obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. An unhealthy diet and minimal exercise have been major contributing factors.

Sadly, veterinarians have observed the same phenomenon in dogs, with at least 40 percent of dogs visiting the clinic, being overweight. It is disappointing to see this occurring particularly when it is not the dog who continues to help himself to more food and unhealthy treats. As dog owners, we are solely responsible for this obesity epidemic that is also taking place in the canine world.

Why is this so? Are we just too soft on those sad brown dog eyes, the wagging tail and a pooch who does anything to please us just for another treat? 

Or is it that we are just not feeding good, healthy food and providing enough exercise?

Often when I ask an owner whether they think dogs are carnivores or omnivores, the answer I receive is “carnivore”. This is incorrect, as dogs are omnivores and in fact, their diet is fairly similar to ours.  This is the reason that many diet health related issues we face as humans are also affecting them. 

Too much meat is not good and most commercially available brands of both dry and tinned dog food already contains more than enough meat than is required. Therefore, it is not recommended that you supplement with even more. Rather than adding meat to a good quality dried food diet, it is far better to add leftover veggies, rice, pasta or even fruit. A carrot makes a great substitute for a bone. 

The science of feeding has progressed enormously over the past few years with many specialised diets now available. 

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