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Thursday, 17 October 2013

Weight on my mind


My Bichon, Bruno, is two years old and overweight.

He has been unwell and on steroids for an allergy which hasn't helped. He is also a very bad sleeper since bonfire night last year. All has resulted in weight gain. He needs to lose approx 2kgs.

We've asked the vet, who wasn't helpful - stating that he needs to lose weight but when asked the best way I was just told to feed less! I had thought of that! I've tried increasing exercise and my vet tells me Bruno's well apart from a nasty skin allergy to grass pollen.

I'd appreciate any advice. I work 3-4 days a week but he is walked twice a day, everyday. Has anyone else had this problem?


Delyth, by email


  1. There are weight control supplements which you could try adding to the diet. Like the Pooch and Mutt Slimmin Tonic Weight Loss Supplement. What food do you feed? Is it a good quality diet, and are you sure the ingredients on this are not causing any problems? How many grams per day do you feed?

  2. As we all know, steroids can cause weight gain. If the dog is still on them then they will be adding to the problem. Feeding less is one way to reduce a dog's weight but as with people eating less of the bad stuff but not more of the good stuff doesn't help much. It's like eating 2 big macs instead of 3 but missing out the veg.

    Vets don't get a lot of nutritional education and that which they do get is often from food manufacturers. Ask if they have a qualified nutritionist that you can speak to. If not speak to a nutritionist at your local pet shop.

    You say he's been unwell, but not what the illness has been. This could also add to weight gain. Ask for a full blood work up to make sure there is nothing that could be lingering.

    Swimming is a great way for dogs to loose weight, 1 minute of swimming is the equivalent to 1 mile of walking. Again you can get a referral to a local hydrotherapy pool and they should also be able to help you with the food side of things.

    Olwen Turns - Cloverleaf Canine Centre.

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  4. Is he still on the steroids? If so it will be a very hard job to lose weight. If he was not overweight before then your feeding regime is probably correct and although you could reduce the amount a little, increased exercise would be your best route. What about some fun agility classes or an occasional swim?

  5. Our top tips for weight loss are:
    • Cut back on the amount of food you are feeding by 10% in the first instance, but you may need to cut back further
    • Increase the amount of exercise your dog takes if possible. This can include throwing a ball for him/her whilst on your normal walk
    • If you currently feed any treats, use part of your dogs daily food allowance for this.
    • If your dog still appears hungry when he has been fed, you could try soaking the food in a little water before you feed it. This swells the food and leaves your dog feeling more satisfied.
    • If your dog is a fast eater, try to slow him down, that way he will register that he is full sooner. You can do this by making him work to get his food.
    i. There are special bowls with a raised centre so that your dog has to eat around this
    ii. Or you can raise the dogs bowl a little way off the ground.
    iii. Or you can make your dog hunt for his food, sprinkle part of the food around the kitchen or garden, or use a feeding ball such as a Kong
    • The main thing is to feed the right amount of food for the energy he is using. If you feed less than this he will lose weight, if you feed more he will gain weight.