Doggy diets: what a vet wants owners to know

As January comes to an end, we might not have stuck to all (or any!) of our new resolutions, but there are some simple ways we can support our furry friends to lead healthier and more balanced lives in 2024.  

With clinical studies finding that up to 65% of dogs are obese or overweight*, it’s crucial that owners prioritise their pooch’s diet and nutrition to prevent obesity and support their wider health.

Jackie Marshall, qualified vet and technical advisor here at VetPlus, says: quote mark Eating a healthy, balanced diet is just as important for dogs as it is humans, but as owners it can often be difficult to know what this should consist of. quote mark

quote mark Whilst overindulging your pet might seem harmless, the effects can be really serious and have a significant impact on their quality of life, with health risks including obesity, arthritis and breathing difficulties. quote mark

quote mark In many ways, caring for your dog’s nutritional health is similar to looking after your own. Just like us, they need good portion control and a balanced diet, complete with all the vital nutrients. quote mark

Below Jackie shares her three top tips to help owners give their dog the best nutrition:

Nail the basics

There are several factors to consider when planning your dog’s diet, and the right type and portion size will depend on a handful of things such as their breed, age, and level of activity.   

Most importantly, dog owners should look for food that is labelled as ‘complete’ as this means it provides all the nutrients that your pooch needs – including protein, carbohydrates, fats, minerals, vitamins, and fibre.

While lots of useful information, including portion size, can often be found on the food packaging itself, it’s always best to consult a vet if you’re unsure.

Keep treats to a minimum

We all love our dogs and it’s normal to want to treat them, but it’s important that everything is in moderation. 

Make sure you only treat your dog every so often. A good idea is to save it for when you’re rewarding particularly good behaviour on a walk or during a training session. 

If your pooch is on a dry food diet, it can be a good idea to take some kibble from their daily allowance and use this as a reward.

Look after the gut

Gut health is another key factor in your dog’s health and happiness. Making sure your furry friend is hydrated, keeping their stress levels to a minimum, and exercising them regularly will all help with this.  

But like humans, dogs can sometimes need an extra boost too.

There are supplements that can support gastrointestinal health, such as SUSTAIN® from VetPlus. The dual-probiotic helps to promote gut health whilst aiding the immune system. FIBOR® from VetPlus is also a good option, combining seven different natural sources of fibre, including kiwi fruit. Both supplements can be added to your dog’s normal diet on veterinary advice.

If you’re worried about your dog’s gut health or if you have any questions about their diet, visit your local vet who will be able to advise further.  

For more information, visit or speak to your local vet.