January’s Walk Your Dog Month crucial to tackle growing dog obesity crisis

It may be cold outside, but dog-owners are being encouraged to kickstart the New Year by getting themselves and their four-legged friends back in shape and shedding some weight.

January marks Walk Your Dog Month, where keeping our pets fit and healthy should be front of mind. Leading pet insurer petGuard is calling on all dog lovers to make a positive impact on the health of their furry friend and feel the benefits themselves.

According to a major study from The Royal Veterinary College (RVC), it’s not just humans who may have piled on the pounds during the last 18 months of working from home. The RVC research revealed that over 7% of the UK’s dogs were recorded by vets as being overweight. While a few pounds may not necessarily harm a pooch, pet obesity is a serious problem leading to shortened lifespans.

Much like in humans, pet obesity can cause arthritis, breathing problems, heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. And some breeds, including Pugs, Beagles, Golden Retrievers and Spaniels, are especially at risk of ending up overweight, as are neutered and middle-aged dogs (6 to 9 years old).

petGuard, who have been providing specialist pet insurance for cats and dogs for over 37 years, is taking the opportunity to highlight the issue, and educate dog owners on how much exercise dogs really need.

There is no simple answer. It depends on several factors, such as age, breed, and general pet health. A good rule of thumb is to walk the dog three times a day, and most should be able to walk for 20-30 minutes at a time. However, high-energy dog breeds may need as much as two hours when they’re out for walkies.

Head of Marketing at petGuard, Alex Bennett said: “Most of us could benefit from a bit of exercise at the turn of the year and what better way to get moving than by taking our best friends along with us?”

He added,” Walk Your Dog month is an initiative that all dog owners can get behind. Getting out in the fresh air can do us the world of good – whether we have two legs or four.”

To coincide with Walk Your Dog Month, petGuard has created a dog walking guide, with some recommendations for pet owners and suggestions for the UK’s finest dog walks.