Why we are launching Fitness Furst:
We surveyed 2,000 dog owners and our research has shown that:
- Over a third of dog owners (36%) admit their dog is either very or slightly overweight
- Neary two thirds (62%) admit they do not know the correct portion sizes for their dog
- 44% revealed they have fed their dog extra treats every week due to increased time at home
What’s more, nearly two thirds (63%) of dog owners said they would benefit from advice and guidance on helping their dog lose weight. Over half said they want expert tips on general health, fitness and feeding, while over one third (35%) want a clear and structured diet plan.
How to tell if your dog might be overweight:
1. You cannot feel their ribs.
2. Their weight is higher than normal.
3. They do not have a prominent abdomen.
4. They do not have a defined waist.
5. Lack of interest in physical activity.
6. Excessive panting.
Vet Richard Doyle of Wylie Vets comments,
“We encounter a high number of dogs who are overweight and it does, in many cases, come down to the knowledge of owners as to what they should or shouldn’t be feeding and importantly how much. A good place to start is to look at what dogs have evolved to eat over many millions of years. Dogs being hunters and scavengers, means meat forms a major part of a balanced diet. This is a diet high in animal protein (as opposed to plant protein) and fat. This evolutionary diet is very low in carbohydrates particularly sugars and starch.
As Vets, we find that dogs fed plant-based proteins and high carbohydrate diets are at much higher risk of developing obesity (and many other modern diseases such as skin disease, inflammatory bowel disease, cancer and diabetes). It is also very much harder to lose weight on a diet based on plant proteins and carbohydrates.
Compounding the lack of knowledge around feeding, 1 in 4 owners said they only know some of the signs to tell if their dog is overweight, with 1 in 7 (14%) saying they did not know any of the signs.
“Excess weight will be more obvious in certain breeds of dog such as Dachshunds, Pugs, French Bulldogs and Staffordshire Bullterriers. There is a common misconception that certain breeds are more likely to put on weight than others such as Labradors loving their food, however this is not the case. No dog should be overweight. It is really quite simple, first we need to understand what fuel is best for our precious pooches. Then we need to work out how much fuel they need. Then we need to understand how the engine works – for instance how exercise and hormones control how our pets use the fuel we give them.”
Richard Doyle, alongside Kirsten Dillon, will be hosting free online webinars as part of the Natural Instinct ‘Fitness Furst’ diet club, for those looking for support and advice. To sign up to take part, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
METHODOLOGY: Research conducted by Perspectus Global on behalf of Natural Instinct of 2,000 UK dog owners aged 18+ from 23-25th September 2020, weighted to be nationally representative.