dog training

The 5 reasons why you should give your pet gundog a job

It’s National Bring your dog to work day on 26th June 2020. This is where bosses allow their staff to bring their dogs to work with the intention of making the workplace a more relaxed, productive and enjoyable place.

Therefore, on Friday please prepare yourself to see dogs sitting on office chairs and workplace receptions desks. Probably see a few’ dog at work selfies’ as well. I am sure it’s a thing or at least come Friday it will be.

For those of you, that can’t go to work yet or still working at home then you won’t be able to show off your gundog at work. I know sad face!

So today dear reader, I am suggesting that you ‘give your pet gundog a job’ instead.

No I haven’t gone nuts.

Every member of the household has a job, why can’t your gundog.

I run a Pawtastic Gundog Adventures, Scarlett goes to school, bath’s and puts her princess dolls to bed.

Finn my dog, retrieves his Frisbee and occasionally some gundog dummies.

Dog trainers, myself included, often tell clients that their dogs need a job to do. I recommend this often, especially with highly energetic  gundogs. They were bred for retrieving birds, but  these days, they  are often household companions without their intended jobs to do. So, we need to find other ways to burn off this physical and mental energy.

By giving your dog a job to do, does not mean sending him out to do those things he was originally bred to do necessarily or asking him to carry around a gun – just joking.

Though, if you can find other creative ways to bring out these natural instincts, it will definitely work in your favour.

Giving your dog a job simply means that you are asking him or her to do something for you in order to earn things of value, such as meals, treats, walks, playing fetch, or whatever it is that your dog enjoys and wants. This is your dog’s version of payment for working.

You wouldn’t work for free neither should your dog. Most dogs are much happier having a job to do so they can earn payment.

The 5 reasons why you should get your gundog off the dole;

1) it encourages the natural instinct of a gundog.  This is normally searching and retrieving. In the past, Finn my dog has struggled to retrieve to my hand.

It is Sunday tradition in our house, to have egg and soldiers for lunch.  Once, my daughter dropped a whole egg shell on the floor. Finn went underneath the table to pick up the eggshell in his mouth and give it to me by hand. I was proud as pinch.

2) it provides both physical and mental exercise.

3) if you provide what it needs, less likely to be bored and have destructive behaviour such as chewing your favourite slippers.

4) You can teach gundogs to retrieve anything, such as slippers, socks, keys and phones. You never know when you could be in situation where this type of training would come in handy. For example, you could have collapsed and need to call for help. You could have your very own assistance dog without knowing.

5) A better relationship with your dog. Anything that requires you to throw his favourite toy will improve your bond. A dog that wants to be around you is a much happier and well behaved dog.

Give your gundog a job today or if you don’t have the time. Pet gundog owners are busy.

Then why not take your gundog off the dole and send him on my ‘give a gundog a job’ adventure.

Spaces are filling up fast so you need to move quick. Your dog will receive all the benefits above and more.

If you would like to know more then book a FREE 15 minute discovery call with me.

Stay safe and happy retrieving

Harriet – The gundog lady x

dog walker

How to entertain your gundog during Lockdown

It does feel like the world has gone mad, people fighting over toilet rolls, cancelled sport events, no Soaps and not knowing what day of the week it is.

World has we know it, has completely changed.

I will admit it I do feel a bit lost.

I miss walking my client’s dogs, which was normal for me.

It does feel like normal life is on pause for a while. Other people are going through hell right now, so I am determined to find a silver lining from this.

On Monday 23rd March 2020, Boris Johnson announced that we should only go out for very limited purposes. We can go out for basic necessities, travel to work and one form of exercise.

What only one walk per day?

How the hell can I give him the extra exercise without going for a second walk?

I am sure, you thought the same.

Instead of the walk, I replaced it with brain games.

15 minute mental exercise is the same as 1 hour of physical exercise.

It has made a huge difference, Finn  my dog, is a lot calmer and our bond has got even stronger.

Here are my tips;

Ditch the bowl –  I know that this may sound weird, when all you have ever known is to use a feeding bowl.

 Instead scatter feed his breakfast or dinner in the garden. Use kongs, puzzles, treat dispensers and lick mats. Since Finn was a puppy, I have put his food in a kong. It has always kept him entertained and stopped him rushing his food.

You could split his meals in  a tupperware containers and place them around your house and garden.

Sniffing uses mental energy and will tire him out quicker and gives me something to do.

Teach him something new–  You probably have a lot of free time on your hands so it’s a perfect time to teach him something new like trick training such a spin, rollover, through the legs and touch.

Currently, I have been working on Finn’s self control. I place a gravy bone (he loves them) on the floor. I ask him to wait and look at me then I release him by saying ‘ok’. You can see him using all his mental energy not to nick the gravy bone. This is great for those Labradors who think with their stomach.

At the park, if your dog does not come to you when called first time.  This is the perfect time to work on this, as you will need to avoid the park anyway.

The recall needs to be learnt in the house first, so every time you say ‘insert dog’s name’ then say come when he does, give him a treat and keep doing this.

 If he gets a yummy treat each time, he will learn something good happens every time he comes.

Give him a job to do –  Gundogs  are great  at finding and retrieving things, so get him to do more of this. Dogs are a lot happier when they are doing things that they were bred for.

You could hide his toys in a room and let him find them. Teach him to retrieve items for you. A member of your family could go and hide. Ask your dog to go and find them. This is a great game for the kids and rest of the family to get involved.

It’s hard at the moment to find a routine. Things are changing all the time. Like us, dog love routine so try to keep to the same routine.

My dog has been a great comfort to me, while all this has been happening. Finn always puts a smile on my face, no matter how crap I feel.

I’m sure your dog does the same.

If you would like to tire, train and transform your dog’s mental exercise, while having a better bond with your dog.

Come and join my Free Facebook group ‘Coronavirus Canine Challenge’, daily tips and tricks to help you with your bored dog.

Stay home, protect the NHS and play with your dog.

Harriet x


dog walker

5 ways a walk can help dogs and their owners

It’s National Walk Your Dog Day on Saturday 22nd February 2020. The Kennel Club recommends dogs are walked for at least 30 minutes per day.
Worryingly, only half of dog owners walk their dogs every day and 51 per cent of dogs are overweight according to the Pet Food Manufacturing Association.

Some of the reasons that owners gave for not going out include; 28 per cent said they don’t have enough time. 15 per cent of owners said they were tired after work, 20 per cent of owners said they don’t want to get wet and 4 per cent didn’t want to get dirty or muddy.

Judging by the crap weather that we have been having lately. I don’t blame them, but if dogs are not getting walked enough, this could lead to dogs getting bored. Unfortunately, that favourite pair of slippers you like, may need to go to slipper heaven.

If dog are not getting enough exercise, they are full of energy, which leads to unwanted behaviour like jumping up, biting, pulling on a lead, chewing and barking.

Some owners even rehome their dogs because of these unwanted behaviours. Most of the time, a bit more exercise could improve the problem.

If owners can’t be bothered to go out in the rain, then they probably shouldn’t owe a dog.

There is another reason why people don’t walk their dogs. It is the fear of other dogs attacking their dog, unfortunately this happened to my dog Finn during the week.

I was throwing a ball for Finn in the park, when a Staffie shaped Piranha, come out of nowhere and started snapping at his feet.

Surprise, surprise there was no owner. He didnt arrive until later.

My first thought was to get away and put Finn on a lead.

Thankfully, no harm was done but dog bites can show up later so be aware.

I felt powerless, I couldn’t stop the dog and I couldnt get away from it.

When the owner did turn up, I wanted to knock his block off to be honest because the thought of Finn being hurt made me so angry.

It could change Finn’s behaviour for the worse and it has certainly made me on edge at the park and not enjoying our normal walks.

Why should a fellow dog owner make me feel like that because he can’t be bothered to control his dog. This is unfair for me and for Finn. He is well behaved and shouldn’t lose out because of a selfish dickhead.

I am sure you have had a similar experience. Be safe and don’t let them stop enjoying your dog.

Get out there, spring will be here soon.
Here are five ways a walk can help dogs and their owners.

  1. Help you have the feel good factor – being bored with make your dog miserable and more likely have unwanted behaviour.
  2. Reduces stress – if you’ve had a bad day going out with your dog helps you unwind.
  3. Ditch the phone and spend time with your dog, this strengthens your bond.
  4. Get your daily exercise – the NHS recommends 150 minutes of activity per week – so a 30 minute walk a day.
  5. Avoid obesity for pets and humans. 

If you are struggling to walk your dog for whatever reason.

Are you a busy pet gundog owner who is struggling to find the time to train your dog?

Is your dog pulling on lead like a train or is he not coming back when called first time?

If so, I can help why not request an information pack by filling out contact form below

I’m off to put a lead on it

Harriet x

dog walker

How to stop your dog chasing squirrels?

It’s National Squirrel Appreciation day on the 21st January 2020.

Nope, I haven’t gone crackers well maybe just a bit.

Here’s some interesting  squirrels facts; they are amazing creatures, that can leap 10 times their body length and turn their ankles 180 degrees to face any direction when climbing.

A squirrel’s front teeth never stop growing and they zigzag to escape predators.

I bet you didn’t know all that dear reader.

As a child, I used to love watching them run around at Kelsey Park in Beckenham and hand feeding them nuts (cheeky).

Dog do love chasing Squirrels.

Our first German Shepherd, Ben chased a squirrel in the woods. I think I was about 10 or 11 years old.

My mum found the little squirrel. It looked injured so my mum put the squirrel in her coat pocket and took it home. It didn’t bite her. After waiting for 3 hours, the RSPCA came and collected it.

I have walked many dogs who would enjoy barking at the tree where a cute squirrel swinging from branch to branch.

Clever squirrel would know full well, there’s no way they would be able to catch them. They would tease them even more.

There’s other dogs who would run off in the woods like Ben did, trying to catch these speedy creatures. The dog might get lost and the poor owners running around the woods, like headless chickens searching for their beloved dog.

Sound familiar?

What if you could get your dog’s attention instead of the Speedy squirrel?

It really isn’t a myth.

Here’s a few tips;

  • Find something he loves. He could be a toy, treat or even fuss. It must be something he would go through fire for.
  • Take it with you next time you are at the park or woods. Make sure you show him what you have.
  • A few times during the walk, call his name to get attention or wave something he loves in front of him. Don’t call his name more than twice. He will learn to ignore you.
  • And then say ‘Come, then reward him.
  • If you do this a couple of times, he will realise every time he comes, he will get a treat and learn something good happens.
  • If you have a dog that takes the treat and pisses off. Continue giving him a few more treats one after the another, He will get the idea if he hangs about he will continue getting something good.

Try it for yourself.

Does your dog listen at home but seems to go deaf in the park?

Are you nervous that your dog will get attacked by another dog or hit by a car when off lead?

Would you love your dog to come back first when called?

 Then sign up below for my 6 tips to a reliable recall.

Appreciate your squirrels by teaching your dog a reliable recall.

I’m off to put a lead on it

Harriet x

dog walker

New year, New me

Well it’s almost time for all that, New Year New me crap.

People always say that, but the only thing that actually changes is the year.

At this time, people often look for a career change.

I have done this many times before I started the business.

Former legal eagle, Former veterinary nurse, you get the idea.

I wasn’t happy so I changed it.

I thought I would share with you, the reason why I started Pawtastic.

Now you may be thinking it’s because I love animals.

Well, yes I do very much but there’s more…..

It’s actually because after I had my daughter, Scarlett in November 2013. At the time, I fell pregnant and I was training to be a veterinary nurse and I realised I didn’t want to go back.

I didn’t want to work 45-50 hours then study at college one day a week and bring up a baby.

As you may know, when you have children your priorities change. It wasn’t all about me anymore.

 I wanted to be a hands on mum so when Scarlett was 6 months old. I bravely started the business.

I have always wanted to be a business owner, be independent and make my own money while doing something that I loved.

Everything I do is for my daughter. I hope one day, she will be proud of me.

My mission is to take the stress and worry away from pet owners while they are on holiday or at work. Not every dog is suitable for a group walk, some gundogs get intimidated by other dogs and these dogs would not cope well in a group walk. They would lose their confidence. The aim of my solo adventures is to put the confidence back into nervous and anxious dogs.

You would be surprised to know that I was once a paralegal, it was my first proper job offer finishing my law degree. I got to dress smart which is very different to the dog hair and mud I seem to wear everyday but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I am firm believer, if you are not happy with something, then only you can change it.

If there is something that you would like your dog not to do like stop ignoring you at the park and come when called first time.

Then message or email me on and I will send you my Reliable Recall Roadmap tip sheet.

Happy New Year!

I’m off to put a lead on it in 2020.

Harriet x

dog walker

How to protect your dog against theft

Every day five dogs are taken in the UK and this number has risen each year for the last four years according to the data from Direct Line.

Recently, there have been many vulnerable puppies being stolen.

 Nine week old westie puppy ‘Haggis’ was stolen in the owner’s home. He didn’t even have his second vaccination yet.

Also, litter of 6 American Bulldogs, only 3 weeks old stolen from a house in Kent. As a former veterinary nurse, I know these puppies will not survive without their mother.

Thankfully, Haggis and American Bulldogs were found and are now safe and well.

It’s not always a happy ending, as only 17 per cent of stolen pups are returned to their owners

Last year, 1959 dogs were reported as stolen with Staffies being the most vulnerable – 71 were taken last year compared to 53 in 2017.

Dog nappers will target designer breeds such as labradoodle or cockapoo as it’s a growing trend to own these dogs.

Dog thefts know these designer dogs will sell quickly and for thousands of pounds.

I can’t imagine my life without my dog. I’m sure you feel the same

Owners of these breeds should be particularly vigilant especially at this time of year.

Don’t give dog thieves an opportunity, such as leaving your dog in locked cars. Definitely, don’t tie them up outside a shop. I know a few owners that have popped in a shop, to come out and find their dog has vanished.

Don’t think ‘I won’t be long’, because you will be. There will be that ‘someone taking forever’ in the queue. We have all been there. Please don’t do it, not worth the risk.

Make sure your dog has up-to-date microchip details and also never have your pet’s name on the I.D tag as thefts can just call your dog and bingo without a thought they will take your dog.

At Christmas time, everyone has friends and relatives coming and going. They may not listen when you say ‘keep the door shut’ so as a reminder put a sign up on the front of the door or gate.

Don’t walk your dogs at the same time each day, vary the times you go. Someone is always watching, this could be a dog napper.

If you hire a pet professional like a dog walker make sure they take reasonable steps to keep your dog safe. Safety is always top of my priority list when walking other people’s dogs. I always make sure they have a reliable recall when letting them off lead.

Steps to follow if your dog is stolen:

  • Firstly, check the local area and your dog’s favourite spots as your dog may have wandered off as they may have followed a scent of another dog or something that they like
  • Sharing lot on social media, putting up posters in the local area and informing local media – include photos and any distinctive marks in any appeals, and ask everyone to spread the word
  • There are some specific sites set up to help find lost and stolen dogs, like
  • Report your dog as stolen to the police and provide them with as much detail as possible
  • Report your dog as stolen to local pet related services like vets, animal rescues, pet shops, dog wardens and the council.
  • Report your dog to the microchip database

Hope that information is useful.

If you are looking for a dog walker, who will make it their priority to keep your dog safe then why not book a FREE 15 minute discovery call. Click on the button below.

Stay safe this Christmas

I’m off to put a lead on it

Harriet x


5 reasons why cat sitters are better than catteries

You decide it is about time, you got out your suitcase to unpack for your upcoming holiday.

Your cat notices and shouts out ‘they are off, let’s have a party and starts wiggling his cat hips and phones up Scat cat’s band.

Well maybe not.

I have obviously been watching too much of the Disney film ‘The Aristocats’.

I bet you are now secretly singing ‘Everybody wants to be a Cat’ to yourself dear reader.

Then you get the cat basket out and he thinks ‘oh crap, I’m off to the bloody cattery again’.

Well, it doesn’t have to be like that.

There’s of course an alternative.

Why not, find a cat sitter.

I will share with you, the 5 reasons why cat sitters are better than catteries;

1) Cat visits are good for nervous and older cats

Placing cats in catteries can cause unnecessary stress.

More so for older and nervous cats.

When I was working as a veterinary nurse, there were many owners taking their cat to the vet after being on holiday.

When the owners got back, they found their cats were not being themselves or having trouble going to the toilet.

This was sometimes due to the cats being stressed out.

Having a cat sitter helps make the cat feel safe in his own environment.

This is one of the reasons, why I offer cat visits.

I wanted cats to feel happy and safe when  their owners are away.

2) Cats like routine.

Most cats thrive on routine. Putting your cat into cattery will certainly disrupt her or his routine.

I try to keep to the times, the owner normally feeds them.

3) Cats are territorial

The smell of another cats might stress your cat out.

Cats will even mark their space, by going to the toilet where another cat has left his scent.

Cat sitting allows your pet to stay in familiar surroundings.

4) Cats like freedom

Cats are very independent creatures.

They like to do what they want.

Most cats enjoy going outside, catching mice, birds and doing cat things

Being in a cattery, your cat will likely be confined to a large pen and will be unable to do whatever he wants.

5) Cats need one to one attention            

Most cats love cuddles on the sofa.

Catteries are busy, which means your cat might not get the time and attention that your pussy deserves.

I always make sure I provide love and affection on each visit.

This is reason, why I offer 3 cat packages, bronze, silver and gold.

The gold package offers more playtime and company.

Perfect for those lap cats.

If you would like to find out more about my felinetastic feeds, then book a FREE 15 minute discovery call with me.

Meow for now

Harriet x


5 top tips to find the right cat sitter

Finding the right cat sitter can be a right headache.

There are lots of pet professional in the area.

I bet, you are wondering which one shall I chose?

It’s a big decision, this person will have keys to your home and look after you beloved fur – baby.

You will want to leave your beloved cat in capable and safe hands.

To save you stress and time.

I give you my 5 top tips to find the right cat sitter;

1) Cat sitter must have a valid insurance and a DBS check. They must show proof of these documents. I always show these on a ‘meet and greet’.

It’s shocking how many clients have never asked me to show proof. They have literally found me off the internet. Think about it, I am going to have keys to their home. I could be some nutter (I’m not but anyway).

If your potential cat sitter fails or unwilling to show you proof then run for the hills dear reader.

2) Your cat sitter should have experience and be knowledgeable about cats.

They should be able to spot if your cat is unwell and needs veterinary attention.

I have worked as a veterinary nurse so I can definitely tell if something is wrong.

There has been many occasions where I have had to dash to the vets as I noticed a client’s  cat has been poorly.

I used to foster cats for local rescue centre and sometimes any stray that came into the vets with no microchip.

One day, I met a big ginger pussy.

The nurses named him Kevin.

I’m assuming because of ‘Kevin & Perry go large’ comedy movie starring Harry Enfield.

Yes you have got it kevin’s  ‘I am not your slave’ catchphrase.

Kevin was of course ginger.

Kevin was very ill.

He had heart and kidney problems.

He has on so many tablets, I’m surprised he didn’t rattle when he walked.

I definitely learnt a good and safe way of administrating his medicine.

I got to celebrate christmas with him

I knew he wasn’t going to live long but I gave him the best time that I could.

I think I had him for about 6 months.

But it felt much longer.

I loved him as if he was mine.

He slept on my bed and I cuddled him.

Once, he went missing.

I looked for him everywhere in the house.

But he was no where to be seen.

I was getting rather worried about him.

Then, I heard a noise under my bed.

Kevin had made a hole under my bed where the drawers go.

I was so glad I found him.

He liked it there so I left him.

He came out for food and cuddles.

He was one of my favourite cats.

3) You need to find a cat sitter that is able to provide play and company.

Young cats enjoy playing with toys.

There are some cats that just love cuddles on the sofa.

The cat sitter needs to tailor the visits to the cat’s individual needs.

This is something I do all the time.

I have 3 cat packages to choose from; Gold, Silver and Bronze.

To find out more, click on the link below

My felinetastic feeds provides more than just putting food down.

4) Please don’t leave it to the last minute.

You need to spend time getting to know your cat sitter and trusting them.

Trust didn’t happen overnight.

You need to find the right person for you, you can’t do that if you leave it to the last minute.

Try to look for a cat sitter a few months before you are about to go on holiday. That gives you enough time to find and make sure you have the right person.

It is not a good idea to just rely on family, friends or neighbours to feed your cat.

I have had many panic cat owners ringing me up because they have been let down by a neighbour at the last minute.

5) Make sure you meet your potential cat sitter.

It’s a perfect time to get to know them and ask any questions you may have.

It is a good idea to ask for references and they should have a review or testimonials page on their website. As I say to all my clients ‘you should be comfortable with whoever is in your home’

I hope that has given you some tips to find the right cat sitter for you.

If you would like to know more about how I can help you.

Then book a free 15 minute discovery call with me.

Meow for now

Harriet x

dog walks

7 reasons why I won’t use a retractable lead

Retractable leads are really popular with dog owners but can cause serious injuries. I will go through the reasons of why I won’t use one with my dog.

 There was thirty serious hand injuries caused by dog leads last year in Cornwall.

According to British Society for Surgery of the hand, Jillian Tisdale, one of the victims of the retracted lead described her injuries as ‘filleting knife’ causing terrible pain.

She has needed surgery to repair the damage. This is not something you really want to be dealing with after a walk with your dog. Her dog became distracted by another dog and ran off excitedly on the lead.

It is not the first time she has become a victim of the dreaded lead. In the past, she has suffered severe cuts and even dislocated her index finger.  

The 7 dangers of a retractable lead are:

1) Injury – When we had our first family dog, Ben being a German Shepherd he used to herd us like we were sheep, so he keep running around us. The retractable cord dug into the backs of our legs and boy did it hurt!

2) It is not just owners that have received terrible injuries, dogs have too. The sudden jerk on their neck can use neck wounds and injuries to the spine.

3)The handles of the leads are bulky and can be easily pulled out of human hands.  This could result to their dog running in the road and getting hit up a car or simply getting lost.

4) I’m guessing you would like a well trained dog that doesn’t pull on lead. This lead is not a good training aid at all. By their nature, retractable lead train dogs to pull while on the lead, because they learn that pulling extends the lead. Dogs do what works.

5)I think it makes owners lazy. They are not watching that the lead is getting wrapped around a tree or their dog is too far away. They are too busy on their phones to care. I was out walking  a staffie, the other day. It was obviously bin collecting day so the wheelie bins were on the pavements. The man in front of me had not noticed that his dog’s retractable lead had gone around the bin a few times and was struck. The owner didn’t not realised until he had looked around.

6)The thin cord can break especially when a powerful dog is on the other end, especially gundogs who take off at full speed, the cord can snap. One client of mine, has told me that her dog actually chewed the cord while on the lead, again this is not ideal.

7) As a solo walker, I have found when using one I have no real control I usually walk reactive or  nervous dogs and the last thing they need is to meet other dogs, so if I do want to make the length shorter, the lead doesn’t respond quickly enough or malfunction. This could lead to a dangerous situation and that why I refuse to walk any dogs on this lead now. Safety is my main priority. 

As you can see retractable leads are dangerous.

My advice  to you dear reader, would be throw the bloody thing  in the bin.

Every owner wants to give their dog more freedom to sniff and play. I would recommend the  use of Halti training lead or 3, 5 or 10 metre long line lead. 

I will receive a small fee if you purchase one of these products but it wont affect the price.

If you would like your dog to go on an non- retractable lead adventure with me then book a FREE 15 minute discovery call. 

I’m off to put a lead on it.

 Harriet x


Are you worried your dog might be overweight?

Pet obesity is on the rise in the UK. It is estimated that 60 per cent of dogs and 39 per cent cats are overweight.

And 81 per cent of vets and nurses report seeing an increase in the number of overweight animals.

Overweight animals are less energetic, less willing to play and generally get less enjoyment out of life. It’s a very serious issue.

No one likes to be told they are overweight and this applies to our pets as well.

 I remember feeling rather embarrassed when I took Barney, my parents dog to the vets, the words ‘he’s slighty overweight’.

I wanted the ground to swallow me up.

I knew from my veterinary nurse days, that once a dog is overweight it can be difficult to lose the weight.

He is getting older, which means added pressure to his joints.

In 2018, the animal charity PDSA published an Animal wellbeing report, a shocking 40 per cent of pet owners don’t know their pets current weight or body condition score.

Also, it is worrying that only per cent (89,000) owners never walk their dogs, 16 per cent (1.4 million) are walked less than once a day, 33% dog owners walk their dogs just once a day.

As it’s National Pet obesity awareness day on 9th October, I spoke to Rachel Bean RVN, who has been qualified veterinary nurse for over 20 years for her advice for owners.

 In March 2019, I hosted her Canine first aid course in West Wickham.

She is amazing, passionate about her work and so knowledgeable.

Here Rachel shares her advice on how owners can tackle Pet obesity and ensure their pets are healthy and happy.

How can you tell if your dog is obese? 

Many dogs are correct weight but equally many are Overweight.

It can vary from breed to breed as to how easy they become overweight, Labradors, for example are a breed that are often overweight.

 So the first thing is to look at the breed and what’s normal for them.

Dogs that are overweight will generally not have a waist and you will not be able to feel the ribs easily because of the thick layer of fat.

Overweight dogs may tire easily and get out of breath when exercising too.

What can you do about it?  

The first thing to do is accept and recognise your dog is overweight and then make an appointment with your Qualified Veterinary Nurse.

If your dog hasn’t had a check up in the last 6 months then it is worth getting a check up first with the Vet who will then refer to the Nurse for a Weight Clinic Appointment, these are generally free.

It is better to have a slow weight loss plan rather than a drastic weight loss. The weight is more likely to stay off if it is done slowly.

It is important to stick to it to see the long term results

What’s the best thing to do regarding their diet (make sure everyone in the house knows their eating plan, no treats)

The type of food you feed your dog is a key part in maintaining the correct weight.

 Some diets are not suitable for some dogs and too high in calories, especially if we feed too much.

 Much the same as us really, too many calories or a poor quality diet can lead to obesity.

It is better to spend a little more on a quality diet that gives better nutrition and calorific content.

Equally, cutting the food amount down drastically will not help weight loss as the dog is lacking the correct nutrition and the body will store fat.

You may have to experiment with different foods and amounts to trigger the metabolism and burn calories.

Would measuring daily intake of food help?  

Yes, it is important to measure the portions so intake can be monitored.

 It also helps the rest of the family feed the same amount consistently

What are health implications?

The health implications, like us, are many.

Your dog can develop Diabetes, High blood Pressure, Skin problems, breathing issues, Heart disease, Liver disease.

The other major one is Arthritis, this is very painful for dogs and is often overlooked and not treated with pain relief.

Can an exercise plan help?  

An exercise plan can definitely help.

 The exercise has to be suitable for the dogs breed and life stage.

 If the dog is unfit the exercise has to be built up gradually so the dog doesn’t suffer injuries.

It may be worth consulting with your Vets for a plan.

Activities such as Hydrotherapy with a registered Centre can also help with fitness and weight loss.

Any tips to keep dogs at a healthy weight? 

Regular visits to the Vets will help keep you informed of your dogs health and general fitness.

Always act proactively rather than wait until your dog is overweight or unwell before seeing the Vet.

If owners are worried what’s your advice for them?

If you are worried, then book in with the Veterinary Nurse at your Vets for a chat and they will advise the next step for you and your Dog.

Acting early to prevent weight gain could mean you have a longer and illness free time together

There is plenty of really great advice here from Rachel and I hope you find it useful.

If you are concerned that your dog is overweight the first thing, you need to do is contact your vet.

Exercise is the key in keeping them happy and healthy.

 If you feel your dog could benefit from extra walks. I provide a safe and stimulating. Solo adventure, that brings your dog home better behaved.

If you would like to know more of how I can help you then why not book a free 15 minute discovery call.

You can find out more about Rachel Bean Canine First Aid course and