Nearly a quarter of those surveyed put extra snacking down the fact they are spending more time with their dogs , while one in five said they just can’t resist their puppy eyes.
The RSPCA says these restrictions can create issues for dog walkers who may have local options curtailed by PSPOs. There is concern some people will travel to find suitable dog walking spots for their animals – potentially unwittingly breaching Covid-19 rules in the interests of their dog’s welfare and exercise needs.
Other reasons given for extra treats include trying to keep pets quiet during important conference calls and to stop them barking when home deliveries arrive.
The research found pets with male owners have gained more weight than those with female owners.
The average dog dad said their pet has put on 4.1kg (9 Ibs) across the year, compared to 2.8kg (6 Ibs) in dogs owned by women.
While a third of those surveyed blamed ‘lockdown lard’ on dipping into the treat tin more often whilst home working, a quarter admitted that they take their dog on fewer walks due to longer working hours and struggling with a lack of routine at home.
Socialize your pet. Meeting new people and other pets improves the confidence of your pet. Plus, having extra playmates will help relieve some of your pet’s built-up energy.
Perhaps due to having less access to countryside and green spaces, dogs living in London saw the largest average weight gain at 5kgs – or half a stone.Dogs in Yorkshire and East Anglia saw the lowest average weight increase at 2.4kg (5Ibs).
Dogs that don’t get enough exercise can develop behavioural problems such as licking too much or chewing things.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 wellbeing. 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 prioritise daily walks, consider healthy treat swaps and check their weight on a regular basis.’
In response to the research, Guide Dogs are urging the nation to sign up to their May ‘Walk your Socks off’ challenge.
Anyone who takes part is encouraged to raise at least £50 to help fund the charity’s efforts to aid children and adults in the UK living with sight loss.
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