Fat dog

Festive treats leave dogs in need of New Year exercise

A fifth (21%) of dog owners are worried that their dog may have piled on the pounds over the festive period, according to new research from Guide Dogs.

It’s not just people who overindulge at Christmas: over a quarter (27%) of owners said their dog eats more than usual and a third (34%) admit to giving their dog additional treats as they don’t want them to miss out on the festivities.

In fact, one in six (17%) dogs don’t eat their normal diet throughout the festive period, Guide Dogs found. Instead they eat turkey or chicken (36%), sausages (25%) and even unwanted carrots (18%), and 27% of those surveyed admit that their dogs are always ‘on alert’ to scoop up any food dropped on the floor.

While exercise can help both people and pets keep their weight under control, a quarter (25%) of owners said they take their dogs for fewer walks over the Christmas period due to the cold weather (49%), wanting to stay cuddled up with their dog watching festive films and TV (48%) and staying inside because of shorter daylight hours (45%).

But owners also said that they planned to ramp up their dog’s fitness regime (27%) or put their dog on a diet (25%) after Christmas to help them shed excess weight.

One easy way to help your dog get in shape is to take more frequent or longer walks — but remember to build these up slowly, especially if your dog is older or has health conditions, says Tim Davies, chief veterinary officer at Guide Dogs. You could also try adding more frisbee and fetch games or play hide and seek, with your dog running between two family members who are hiding.

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