It is in an unfortunate fact that we live in a world full of toxins and all-sorts of things that are really not that good for us and sadly, our pets are not exempt from this either – in fact, in some ways it is worse for them; they have little choice about their own health or well-being, they are often fed unsuitable food, vaccinated too frequently and not provided with enough exercise.
There has been a significant rise in the numbers of dogs in the UK suffering from obesity and conditions related to being overweight such as diabetes. A study carried out by Pets at Home last year discovered that more 22 per cent of Britain’s pet dogs were overweight and this is largely down to people feeding their dogs too many extra dog treats on top of their daily meals.
Pets in the UK, dogs in particular, are being treated more and more like their human companions, which includes enjoying human treats as well as the myriad of goodies on offer made specifically for dogs (which aren’t always healthy). A few years ago RSPCA research found that a quarter of UK households dished up a Christmas dinner for their dogs and while this meant that dozens of dogs were then taken to the vet on Boxing day for upset tummies; it does demonstrate how readily we include our dogs when it comes to human indulgencies.
The combination of too many goodies and less exercise which comes of long winter days, it is can have a significant impact on the health and welfare of our dogs. As we are quickly moving towards a new year, many of us will already be thinking about how to make positive changes to our health – and we should more certainly include our pets in those thoughts.
While a January detox is often the order of the day for people, it’s far better to maintain a healthy balance over the whole year in order to banish that lethargy and keeps those tails wagging. Its never too late to make changes to our health which will have positive impacts on our well-being and our doggy pals should be no different – after all we want them to be around us for as long as possible.
Anything you feed your dog should be made of high quality ingredients. Many people are considering natural raw meat diets and there is a lot of evidence to suggest this has some major positive health benefits for dogs.
There is also a good deal of evidence to suggest that a grain free diet is much better for dogs. Grains are not naturally a part of a dog’s diet and consumed on a regular basis is said to cause digestive upset and obesity, as well as joint problems, itchy skin and ear infections.
While there are a lot of human foods that are safe and very good for dogs to eat, there is also a good deal of bad stuff that can be positively dangerous; Chocolate, grapes, raisins, onions, alcohol for example are all found in traditional festive treats – tree decorations, mince pies, Christmas pudding and gravy are scrumptious treat for us, but could be lethal for your dog.
As well as avoiding too many treats which will pile on the pounds, it’s important to keep up a healthy exercise regime too. While there is the argument for providing certain dogs with too much exercise; (yes, we were surprised too!), there is a bigger problem of dogs not being exercised enough, especially at this time of year when the weather is terrible, days are short and people are busy preparing for the festive season. Providing your dog with a couple of outings a day, not only helps him to stay supple and healthy physically, but will also address his ‘mental’ health too, but providing him with socialisation and stimulation.
I know I could definitely do with getting a healthy grip on my weight these days, so rather than wait until the Christmas period is over, (when I could have piled on another half a stone !), I am going to try and start being good now – and that includes you Floss. Time for another invigorating walk in the rain!