Dogs Are Gaining Too Much Weight During The Pandemic, Experts Say

Many of us are feeling the effects of the pandemic in lots of ways, particularly in our waistlines. With nowhere to go and nothing to do and the world falling apart around us, we’ve tended to seek comfort in delicious food. Whether it’s baking sourdough loaves and banana bread or ordering more takeout to “support local business,” we’ve been gaining weight – but we’re not the only ones. Turns out, our dogs have been packing on the pounds while on lockdown as well.

iStock/Ирина Мещерякова

The average dog has put on 7 pounds since the start of the pandemic. That seems like a lot, right? However, it’s the average according to a survey by Guide Dogs in the UK, who claim that the increase is a result of humans giving our pups more treats and less exercise to burn off those excess calories.

Dog dads are most at fault here. According to the survey, male dog owners reported that their dog gained an average of nine pounds this year, while those puppers owned by women gained an average of six pounds.

No one can resist those puppy dog eyes. One in five respondents to the survey admitted that they just couldn’t resist giving in to their dog when it was begging for food or an extra treat. Many others admitted that they plied their pups with extra food so that the dog would be quiet while its owner was working from home.

Dogs just aren’t getting out enough. Roughly 25% of people revealed that their dog likely gained weight because they weren’t going out for as many walks, or at least as many longer ones, due to longer working hours and lockdown regulations. More concerning, a quarter of people said they were afraid of their dog being stolen, hence the reason they weren’t taking it out as much.

It’s no laughing matter – dogs’ health really matters. Dr. Helen Whiteside, Head of Research at Guide Dogs, said: “Our research has shown that lockdown has had a significant impact on many dogs’ health and well-being. And while a little weight gain is not the end of the world, it is important that owners address it as soon as possible, to prevent medical issues like heart disease, diabetes and joint problems later down the line. A healthier dog is a happier dog, so owners should prioritize daily walks, consider healthy treat swaps and check their weight on a regular basis.”

Here’s hoping with the warmer weather, we can start getting those pups out and active again (and maybe cut back on the treats).

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