If your Cavalier King Charles spaniel is carrying a few extra pounds, don’t worry – you’re not alone.
Many dogs are overweight and this is a common problem for the Cavalier King Charles spaniel which tends to enjoy a life of luxury as opposed to his spaniel cousins who are often more active.
Helping your Cavalier to lose weight is not difficult but it will take some effort and a change of regime on your part.
The best way to reduce your Cavalier’s weight and improve his health is to increase his activity levels while adopting a change of dietary habits, in terms of quantity of food and treats that are fed to him. Just as with humans, increased activity levels combined with a better diet will result in weight loss and better health.
Overweight Cavaliers can experience health problems
According to the Royal Veterinary College in the UK, one in four dogs are recorded as being overweight every year.
Owing to lifestyle choices by their owners, dogs are often overfed and underexercised and, for breeds such as the Cavalier King Charles spaniel, this can aggravate conditions that are inherent to the breed.
If your Cavalier is overweight then he may experience difficulties with breathing, snore excessively when sleeping, struggle to get around and could become arthritic due to excessive pressure on his joints.
It doesn’t help a Cavalier when you consider that he is often thought of as a dog that curls up in front of the fire, as opposed to one that can withstand large levels of activity – just like his larger spaniel cousins.
An overweight Cavalier is an unhealthy Cavalier
If you allow your Cavalier to become obese and fail to address his weight then he could suffer from the same ailments as any other overweight dog, including diabetes, respiratory problems and arthritis.
How to help your Cavalier to lose weight
The first step in helping your Cavalier to lose weight is to consult with your veterinarian who can provide you with an ideal weight for your dog based on his age, height and build.
Once you know how much weight your Cavalier needs to lose, you can begin working on a plan to help him slim down.
By visiting your vet you will reduce the risks associated with a sudden increase in physical activity and your vet will also be able to assess your dog for any underlying health conditions that could be impeded by a change in diet and activity.
Consider your own position too
Let’s face it. If your Cavalier is overweight due to a sedentary lifestyle, then there is a fair chance that you also will be carrying a few too many pounds.
Fat dogs tend to have owners that are in a similar condition.
Your Cavalier is going to have to increase his activity levels to lose weight which means that you’re going to have to do the same.
If you have any doubts about your health or have led a life of couch potato, then get some professional advice before you begin.
Exercise will help your Cavalier to lose weight
The best way to help your Cavalier lose weight is by increasing his activity levels.
This will help to burn off the excess calories that are being consumed and stored as fat.
You don’t have to commit to hours of exercise every day, but you should aim to increase your Cavalier’s activity levels gradually so that he doesn’t become sore or injured.
A good place to start is by walking him for 20 minutes twice a day.
If this is increased by 5 minutes each week then he will soon be up to a half an hour walk twice a day which is ideal for most dogs.
Visit different places and try to let your Cavalier run free off the lead so that he can explore.
If you are able to take your Cavalier to places where he can swim or paddle, water based exercises are great for dogs that need to increase their activity – plus they can be great fun on a warm day when a hot pooch needs to cool down.
Of course, if your Cavalier is very overweight then you may need to seek professional help in order to get him started on an exercise regime.
Your vet may refer you to a canine physiotherapist who can help to design an appropriate exercise plan for your dog.
Remember that dogs love walks – they are a highlight of any dog’s day and even an overweight dog will enjoy the interactions with nature and the outdoors.
Diet is also important for weight loss in Cavaliers
The food that you feed your Cavalier is also going to play a role in his weight.
You should aim to reduce the amount of food that he is given each day and make sure that he is only given high-quality, nutritious food.
A good rule of thumb is to feed him twice a day, rather than leaving food out all day, and to measure his food so that you know how much he is eating.
You should also cut down on treats and snacks as these are often high in calories and low in nutrition.
If you are unsure about how to change your Cavalier’s diet then you should speak to your veterinarian who can advise you on the best foods to feed him and how much he should be eating each day.
A change in diet will often result in a reduction in weight, but this needs to be done slowly so that your Cavalier’s digestive system can adjust.
A sudden change in diet can lead to gastrointestinal upset so it is important to make any changes gradually.
Monitor your Cavalier’s progress
When you are trying to help your Cavalier lose weight it is important to monitor his progress so that you can see how well he is doing.
You should aim to weigh him every week or fortnight so that you can track his weight loss.
You may also want to take measurements of his waistline and chest so that you can see how his body shape is changing.
It is also important to monitor how your Cavalier is feeling.
If he is struggling with the increased activity levels or the change in diet then you may need to make some adjustments.
For example, if he is finding it difficult to walk for 30 minutes twice a day then you could try reducing this to 20 minutes or even 10 minutes and gradually increasing it over time.
The most important thing is that you are consistent with your approach and that you don’t give up if the going gets tough.
Losing weight takes time, patience, and perseverance but it is definitely worth it when you see your Cavalier looking and feeling happier and healthier.
An overweight Cavalier King Charles will be an unhappy and unhealthy animal and it is really important that you do your best to help him to improve his lifestyle.
The most important thing is to be patient and consistent with your approach, and to never give up.
If you need help then don’t hesitate to speak to your veterinarian who will be able to advise you on the best course of action for your Cavalier.
- Can a Cavalier King Charles spaniel jump?
- Can Cavalier King Charles spaniels live in hot weather?
- Can Cavalier King Charles spaniels go hiking?