It was Pet Obesity Awareness day recently and the sobering news was delivered that over half of all dogs and cats are overweight or obese. That’s an astonishing 36.7 million dogs and 43.2 million cats that need to lose a few pounds.
Excess weight and obesity is just as, if not more, dangerous for our animal friends as it is for us. Carrying around more weight than is necessary will put undue strain on bones and joints, as well as restricting movement, creating breathing difficulties and also causing other serious health problems like diabetes. Most pet owners are surprised when their vet tells them that their dog is overweight or obese, most believe that their pets are healthy and at a comfortable weight.
This can be a problem for pugs. A lot of people think that a pug is meant to be fat; they have this image in their head of a short, lumpy, cuddly dog that looks cute because it is a bit podgy, and while all pugs are cute and cuddly no matter what their size, being a bit on the lumpy side is definitely not good for the pug. Pugs are solid and muscular dogs with rounded features; they should be narrower at the neck, with broad shoulders, narrowing again at the waist and a slightly broader rump. If your pug is shaped more like a sausage roll, then you might want to think about helping them lose a pound or two.
In the same way that excess weight is damaging to us humans, the same principles applies to dogs when they need to shed a few pounds – a better diet and more exercise. These two things can be difficult for pug owners, as we all know the little guys love their food and sleep a lot of the time, but you don’t need to go to extremes. Try not to feed your pug leftovers or any human food, always give them good quality dry food and try and limit their food intake by having set feeding times through the day, do not leave food down for them. Also try and cut back on the amount of doggy treats you feed them.
Pugs do not need a lot of exercise, but it is beneficial to take them out at least once a day. Take your pug for a short leisurely stroll, you do not need to walk miles or run with them as they can experience breathing difficulties. Even when walking you should always be aware of how your pug is breathing and if they are breathing heavier than normal or start slowing down, then it is time to stop. A little exercise, even five minutes, daily will help keep weight down and it is good for the heart and lungs.
We would like to stress that we are not qualified pet care specialists and this is merely general advice gathered from caring for our own dogs. Please seek help from a professional veterinarian if you think your dog is overweight.