Obesity in dogs is a growing issue and industry experts now report that around 50% of pets are overweight or obese. Obesity is more common in certain breeds of dog (including the Labrador Retriever, Cocker and King Charles Spaniels), the risks also increases with age, and gender plays a part too with females being more likely to be overweight, although animals of both sexes when neutered are more prone to weight issues.
The key to managing your dog’s weight is the balance between how much they eat and the energy they use up. And that’s where you come in. Maintaining your dog’s ideal weight is about the type and amount of food you give as well as your dog’s lifestyle and exercise levels.
Did you know by just looking at your dog and feeling their shape is an easy way to tell if your dog is a healthy weight or not?
Lots of methods exist for working out body composition and body fat mass in companion animals. In a clinical setting, the most widely accepted and practical method of body condition evaluation is condition scoring using visual assessment and palpation.
S.H.A.P.E. ™ (Size, Health And Physical Evaluation) is a body composition measuring system designed by WALTHAM™ that asks a series of questions. A person will carry out a number of examinations on a dog ultimately leading through a flow chart to a score that corresponds to a description of the pet.
Extremely Thin : Your dog has a very small amount or no total body fat. Recommendation: Seek veterinary advice promptly.
Thin : Your dog has only a small amount of total body fat Recommendation: Seek veterinary advice to ensure your dog is offered theappropriate amount of food. Reassess using the S.H.A.P.E. chart every 2 weeks.
Lean : Your dog is at the low end of the ideal range with less than normal body fat.Recommendation: Increase food offered by a small amount. Monitor monthly using the S.H.A.P.E.* chart and seek veterinary advice if no change.
Ideal : Your dog has an ideal amount of total body fat.Recommendation: Monitor monthly to ensure your dog remains in this categoryand have him/her checked by the veterinarian at your next visit.
Mildly Overweight : Your dog is at the upper end of the ideal range with asmall amount of excess body fat Recommendation: Seek veterinary advice to ensure your dog is offered the appropriate amount of food and consider increasing activity levels. Avoid excessive treats and monitor monthly using the S.H.A.P.E. chart
Moderately Overweight : Your dog has an excess of total body fat Recommendation: Seek veterinary advice to implement safely an appropriate weight loss plan including increasing activity levels. Reassess using the S.H.A.P.E.* chart every 2 weeks.
Severely Overweight : Your pet has a large amount of excess total body fat that is affecting its health andwell being.Recommendation: Seek veterinary advice promptly to introduce a weight loss plan to reduce your dog's weight, increase activity levels and improve health.
NB: Some breeds and different llfe-stages may have different ideal S.H.A.P.E scores. Consult your veterinarian if you are unsure.