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One in four women are dieting – with their dog

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One in four women have gone on a diet – with their DOG, according to new research. Six in ten dog owners have put their precious pooch on a diet, giving them portion control, exercise routines and even ‘flex days’ to help them shift the pounds.

In fact, almost one in five women will have a weigh-in alongside their dog to track their progress together.

Incredibly, a further one in five have even tried to adapt human diets to something appropriate for the animal, looking to Weight Watchers and Slimming World for tips on how to create a healthy meal plan for their canine companion.

Other weight-loss measures revealed by the poll include sticking a picture of a thin dog on the fridge, banning snacking between meals, and introducing healthy human food as a dieting alternative.

Clare Scallon from Butchers Lean & Tasty, which polled 951 women whose dog is on a diet to launch its Fittest Dog in the UK Competition, said:

“It is great news to hear that so many pet owners are taking the health of their dog seriously, some of the measures people are taking appear extraordinary.

“Everyone agrees it is unhealthy for a pet dog to be overweight it is really important to make sure they have a healthy well balanced diet, and get plenty of exercise.

“So while it’s good to hear that people are paying attention to the food their dog is eating, they very definitely should not be using human diets as a way of helping them to lose weight.

“Human diets are tailored to human needs, and owners need to be very careful their pet is still receiving the right amount of nutrients needed for their dog.”

It turns out many podgy pups are struggling in the same way as their owners – 15% are always searching for treats, while one in three are really showing their extra weight and 15% get too tired when they exercise.

They have the same vices too – biscuits, chocolate and leftover meals are top of the list of items we’re holding back from our pets to keep them trim and lean.

The research also found Labradors are the dogs which are most like to be overweight, followed by Border Collies, Spaniels and Beagles.

The average dog currently on a diet is overweight, according to their owner, by roughly five pounds in total, although a hefty one in 10 tip the scales at 10 pounds over.

That’s probably why three in ten women are curbing their eating habits so their dog isn’t tempted, with 43% getting pangs of guilt for eating in front of them.

Exercise is also important, as over half have invested in more dog toys to get their pet active, with 61% taking them out in the garden more often to encourage them to run around.

Clare Scallon from Butchers Lean & Tasty added:

“Our dogs are an integral part of our lives and rely on us to ensure they are happy and healthy – we shouldn’t be putting our dogs on human ‘diets’.

“Instead we should be making sure they get plenty of exercise and a healthy nutritionally balanced diet such as Butcher’s Lean & Tasty which has less fat and fewer calories.”

TOP WAYS OWNERS ARE HELPING DOGS LOSE WEIGHT:

1. Conduct regular weigh ins
2. Top up the water bowl regularly so the dog doesn’t feel hungry
3. Practise portion control
4. Let the dog into the garden frequently
5. Feed the dog before 6pm every day
6. Invest in lots of dog toys
7. Banned dog snacks, treats and bones
8. Ban guests from treating the dog
9. Cut down the number of meals the dog eats
10. Give the dog a ‘flex’ day to make it easier to diet
11. Feed the dog healthy human food
12. Eating in another room away from the dog
13. Stick up pictures of thin dogs
14. Cut out human leftovers
15. Not eating in front of the dog
16. Dieting with the dog
17. Cut out biscuits and chocolate
18. Adapt a human diet
19. Weigh yourself at the same time as the dog
20. Cut meat from the dog’s diet

BREEDS OF DOG MOST LIKELY TO BE ON A DIET:

1. Labrador
2. Border Collie
3. Spaniel
4. Beagle
5. Mixed breed
6. Boxer
7. Terrier
8. Bassett hound
9. Jack Russell
10. Bulldog