Did you know that around 50% of british pets are overweight? No? Well you’re not alone – 80% of owners actually think their pet is the perfect weight. There are many things to consider when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight for your pet – food, exercise, snacks, breed, health conditions, lifestyle, but we can take control of our pet’s weight and put them on track for a healthier, happier and ultimately longer life.

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Is my pet overweight?

Don’t be tempted to shrug off any additional weight as mere puppy fat or thick fur! Extra weight carries all kinds of health risks, so assess your pet’s physique carefully to determine their health status. To work out of your dog is a healthy weight, look for these signs:

Ribs should not be easily visibly, but should be easily felt

They should have a clear and visible waist, with their tummy tucked in to their body (if the stomach hangs this is a sign of excess weight, or vice versa if the shape of the stomach is too hollowed)

You should be able to feel a small layer of fat, but definitely not much fat over the tummy or at the base of the tail

New Year Resolutions we can stick to:

Exercise – Key for our dogs, key for ourselves! Whilst we’re all aware that dogs need walkies, are you clued up on just how much exercise your breed of pooch should be having? Most pooches need about two 30 minute walks a day, but it’s still worth checking the exact requirements for your breed. If your dog loves to swim then that should definitely be encouraged – 5 minutes of doggy paddle burns the same amount of calories as a 5 mile walk!

No (unhealthy) Snacking – It’s difficult to resist those puppy dog eyes when your pooch is yearning for some food from the table, but this can be a key contributing factor when it comes to an increase in your pet’s weight. Meanwhile, be smart when choosing treats – pig’s ears are loaded with calories, whereas Eukanuba Healthy Biscuits and James Wellbeloved Crackerjacks (which are hypoallergenic) are a great alternative. You could even offer up things like broccoli if your pooch is good at eating their greens!

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Log your pet’s food – If you have a bit of a full house, it’s easy to overfeed to ‘be on the safe side’ when there’s a question as to whether or not your pet has been fed. Keep a log book, stored with the food, and have family members tick it upon feeding. It’s also a great way to monitor just how many treats your pet is getting away with!

Portion control – No more heaped bowls – measure your pet’s food with a measuring cup, or scales for even better accuracy

Switch to a weight management food – If exercise and portion control aren’t making a big enough impact on your dog’s weight, switch to a weight management food – the Hill’s Science Plan Perfect Weight range is top of the line and will work wonders on your pet’s waistline, never compromising on taste or nutrition – you can save up to 20% this month, so don’t wait and shop now.

Improve eating behaviour – Eager pups can be prone to guzzling down their food too quickly. This can lead to digestion problems and can leave them waiting for an immediate top up. An anti-gorge bowl slows down the pace of eating, prohibiting dogs from taking large bites of food and making them chew, pause and digest. Slowing down feeding gives your dog time to feel full before they empty their bowl and spreads out mealtimes

Hop on the scales – The numbers don’t lie! Regular weigh-ins will allow you to check that your resolutions are working and that your pet’s weight is heading in the right direction

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Whilst using a Weight Management Cat Food, there are some additional tips to note when it comes to keeping mog trim:

Toys at teatime!Interactive feeders keep your cat entertained and active, burning calories whilst enjoying their instinctive hunt for food

Play with your cat little and often – cats are easily bored, but short and fun games can keep them active

Teasers and laser toys are fun to chase – Cats love to hunt and these kinds of toys can really awaken those natural instincts, causing them to run and pounce all over the house

Slow feeders – Interactive Slow Feeders are a revolutionary way to slow a cat’s eating to ensure that they savour their food. Our favourites are the Northmate Feeders, found here

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 Rabbits (and other small pets)

It’s so easy for small pets to become overweight – particularly as they are generally kept within a hutch or smaller living space. Follow our tips to ensure your bunny has plenty of spring in their hop:

Attach a run – If you have a rabbit, it’s advisable that a run is permanently attached to their hutch, allowing them to exercise frequently, as well as preventing them from feeling bored or frustrated. Ensure critters such as hamsters have an exercise wheel or ball to run around in.

Hide food – By hiding food around the run and hutch you can encourage your bunny to move around and hunt down their grub

Hay every day! –  It’s essential that rabbits have unlimited access to hay along with their regular food, browse our hay collection now to stock up on your rabbit’s food essential

Stick to it and you will soon see the rewards of your efforts. If you have any questions, please just post below and we’ll do whatever we can to help and advise as you and your pet get on top of any weight issues. Good luck!