Dog obesity is an epidemic that is affecting millions across the country and it doesn’t seem to be getting better. Having a fat dog may seem cute or harmless but nothing could be further from the truth. An obese dog endures more suffering than you may realize but with proper knowledge and information, can be prevented and even reversed in older dogs.
Keeping your dog healthy and fit will make for a better quality of life for you and your best pal to share together.
The most common cause of dog obesity is simply overeating and/or eating the wrong food. Additionally, dogs need exercise- if they aren’t burning off the extra calories, you’ll quickly begin to notice an increase in weight. Frequent walks and a balanced diet is crucial for healthy weight in dogs. Feeding a dog too much food, too many treats, or giving them a large amount of human food will all increase weight.
There are some medical conditions that can also cause a dog with a good diet and exercise routine to be overweight. An unbalanced thyroid, insulin problems, and neutering can all cause excess weight in a dog.
Breeds At Risk of Obesity
Some breeds of dog are prone to putting on weight so it’s important to do your due diligence. Before adopting these breeds make sure you will be able to properly care for their needs:
- Bassett Hounds
- Cocker Spaniels
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
- Rough Collies
- Shetland Sheepdogs
Treating Obesity in Dogs
Dogs are able to reduce weight, just like humans can. Taking time to carefully see what your dog eats each day will help to determine if they are in taking too many calories. If this is the case, changes to their diet can be made immediately. Keep in mind, however, to gradually wean your dog off of dog food they are used to if that’s the case.
Exercise is also key in order for your overweight dog to shed the pounds. Taking your dog for an extra walk or run, adding some extra distance to their walk, an extra trip to the dog park, or even allowing them extra time outside in their own yard each day will give them an opportunity to burn off additional calories.
Effects of Dog Obesity
If dog obesity is not taken seriously and treated, it can result in numerous health problems, disease, and even death. Extra weight will cause excess wear and tear on muscles and joints and could even cause broken bones. If obesity is not treated quickly enough, damage to muscles and joints cannot be reversed.
Diseases resulting from dog obesity include:
- Liver disease
- high blood pressure
- heat intolerance
- breathing issues
- immune system problems
Dog obesity can be prevented. Starting a puppy out on a vet approved food plan from the start will ensure that additional calories are not adding up. Having an exercise plan for your pup and sticking to it is also key to prevent obesity. Items like a doggy treadmill and a running belt will help make exercising your overweight dog far easier. If your lifestyle does not allow you to keep your pet active, find a dog walker in your area so your pet can get the exercise they need.
Monitoring the number of treats and the ingredients in those treats is another vital step to keep dogs at a healthy weight. Far too often, treats are given for training and as rewards and it is easy to overfeed a dog with too many treats on top of their regular food.
Obesity causes unnecessary pain, discomfort, and risks to dogs. Remember, your dog depends on you to keep them healthy and happy. Knowing exactly what your breed of dog should weigh and working to maintain that is essential in the health and well being of your dog. The moment you notice an unusual increase in your dog’s weight, it’s important to take immediate action. Early detection will make it easier to get under control.
Seek the help of your vet and dog walker to help keep your furbaby at a healthy weight so they can enjoy all life has to offer for years to come.