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Obesity is caused by two prime factors – excessive intake of calories, and reduced activity (burning of calories). Dogs are certainly less active than they were 20 years ago, when roaming the streets (and turning over the odd rubbish bin) was standard practice. These days dogs are confined to the yard, and exercised on lead (which hardly gets the heart rate up for a dog). Add to this the availability of high calorie dry foods (most people just don’t realize how energy dense dry foods are), and you have a recipe for obesity. Mix in the “food equals love” issues that plague most pet owners -“he just always seems hungry”, and we can explain the alarming statistic that 40% of dogs over the age of 4 are overweight. Getting weight off your pet can be a struggle, but there are some very basic rules you can follow. Feed a moist diet, preferably raw (this will make your dog feel full = satiation) with plenty of vegetables, feed in the morning (not at night) and feed only once daily. Weigh your dog regularly to ensure you are winning – slow and steady is the best way to go. Increase activity levels where possible, but do this gradually over time (we don’t want your mate doing an ACL)

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