The British Veterinary Association (BVA) is urging owners making new year resolutions not to forget pets, particularly their dogs, in health and weight control regimes.
In the association’s most recent Voice of the Veterinary Profession survey, 95% of companion animal vets said better weight control would have a significant impact on canine health and welfare, with two-thirds saying a change in diet would also have a significant impact.
The BVA is encouraging dog owners to include their pets in resolutions to burn off the post-Christmas flab and get fit.
BVA president John Blackwell said: “As a practising vet and a dog owner, I know how tempting it can be to show your love for a family pet by indulging in treats.
“But more and more practices are seeing pets brought in suffering from the consequences of poor weight control, from mobility and breathing problems to cardiovascular conditions.
“A much better way for owners to love and care for their pets is to ensure they get the diet and exercise that meet their pets’ natural needs. “We all know dogs and walks go together like a horse and carriage.
“As people all over the country begin the new year with a new health regime, we would encourage owners to get fit with their pets – a long walk is good exercise for you and your dog.
“If you are concerned your pet may be overweight, ask your vet to check and to give advice on diet and exercise.”
BVA’s top five tips for getting fit with your dog in 2015 are:
·Go the extra mile – on country walks or do an extra circuit around the local park. Remember your dog should be on a lead in the countryside when there is livestock.
·Think toys not treats – toys a dog can play with and get fun exercise from can get that tail wagging as energetically as treats.
·Join a club – lots of vet practices run fit clubs and weight-control clubs.
·Get the right diet – make sure your dog’s diet is right for the breed, size, age and lifestyle of your pet.
·Ask your local vet – your vet will understand your pet and its needs. If in doubt about your pet’s health, exercise regime or diet, ask.