Obesity in dogs is a problem that is not only encountered by humans today. Our four-legged pets can also be overweight.
Most owners don’t even notice that their dog is overweight until they take him to the vet.
Obesity in dogs is one of the factors in the development of diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and various diseases of the locomotor system.
Here are some tips for owners on how to achieve and maintain an ideal dog’s body weight and thus make it healthy and full of energy.
What are the dangers of obesity in dogs
The fact is that the veterinary profession is increasingly warning of the danger of long-term obesity – from the fact that “chubby” and especially obese pets are increasingly difficult to move, to the real danger to the joints, bones, and internal organs of the dog.
And the longer a dog is obese, the harder it is to prevent or completely cure the consequences.
The problem is that many owners do not even notice the gradual changes in the weight of their pet, so sometimes you need an objective view of the matter – perhaps the best veterinarian who will know how to touch the dog but try it yourself:
– The spine and ribs should be relatively easy to feel under the arm, but not visible unless it is a greyhound breed with extremely short hair.
– The abdomen should be retracted in a standing position
– Looking up you should clearly see the waist, as in the picture below:
Due to the horizontal position of the spine in four-legged animals, one kilogram of excess is equal to five kilograms in humans!
According to the American Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), over 45% of dogs are overweight or even obese.
Some of the consequences of obesity are:
– Decreased fitness, decreased desire to walk/run, laziness
– Breathing problems
– Heavy heat
– High blood pressure
– Liver failure or disease
– Increased risk of surgery (from anesthesia)
– Reduced immunity
– Increased risk of cancer
What to do when a dog is obese?
You’ve never been on a diet? Good for you. And now listen: reduce the amount of food for your dog!
No, he won’t die of reduced portions even though he looks at you like he will. And no, light food hasn’t been proven to help people, and dogs haven’t.
Reduce portions. Increase activity
And consider changing your diet, because not all foods have the same composition. Avoid those foods that contain corn and soy as the main non-meat product.
I don’t think all grains should be avoided, but corn is the main food a pig eats, I don’t think I need to explain why, and soy can be problematic as well.
Basically, my advice is to feed less than it says on the package unless your dog is hyperactive/working dog, but probably not fat in that case either.
The problem with the feeding instructions found on most dog food packages is that they usually only contain information about the dog’s weight, and the amount of food provided relative to that weight.
There is no activity level data, and that is a very important item!
Here are some more tips that can help your dog if he has problems with being overweight:
Obesity in dogs and how to treat it – practical advice
Notice the extra pounds in time
It is much easier to avoid the accumulation of unwanted pounds than to keep a diet when they have already accumulated.
Just like owners, their four-legged pets can gain a few extra pounds if their calorie intake increases sharply.
We could say that almost all the rules related to weight changes that apply to humans also apply to dogs.
The body weight of an animal is affected by many factors such as the speed of metabolism, the level of physical activity, the amount of food in the meal, possible snacks, and the like, so owners should pay attention to them.
Monitoring your dog’s weight is extremely important as it can prevent a number of obesity-related diseases.
For this reason, it is advisable for both owners and dogs to adopt healthy living habits such as proper diet and regular exercise.
Determine the degree of obesity
In general, we can say that a dog is threatened if its waist is not visible, if the ribs cannot be felt under the arm, and if there are deposits of fat along the spine and at the base of the tail.
Up to 15% above ideal body weight, the animal is considered to be overweight, which can be successfully corrected by changing the diet, and in vital and younger dogs by gradually increasing physical activity.
If the animal exceeds its ideal weight by more than 15%, the animal is considered obese and a diet program should be implemented.
In that case, visit a veterinarian who will determine the exact degree of obesity and suggest a diet plan.
Identify the causes of weight gain in a dog
Obesity in dogs is the result of the accumulation of adipose tissue, which is most often the result of excessive food intake and insufficient physical activity.
Some dogs are more prone to gaining extra pounds than others.
Thus some dog breeds are more endangered than others, for example, golden retrievers, dachshunds, cocker spaniels, labradors, rottweilers, while some other breeds like greyhounds are less prone to being overweight.
Critical groups are both castrated males and neutered females, who have a particularly increased appetite due to hormonal changes.
It is important to say that the possible obesity of animals after these procedures depends solely on the owners because proper nutrition can be easily avoided. This includes older dogs who have difficulty moving.
Prevent the development of diseases caused by an overweight dog
The chance of developing the number of diseases increases with being overweight.
Obese dogs are more likely to develop some of the diseases such as diabetes, stroke, heart muscle disease, and various diseases of the locomotor system.
The most serious consequence, however, is a reduced quality of life and a shortened life of the dog.
Consult a veterinarian
Before starting the diet program, it is necessary to visit a veterinarian and make a complete clinical examination, and never put the dog on a diet on its own.
This is important to confirm that obesity is not hormonal in nature (e.g., thyroid hypofunction or adrenal hyperfunction) or that there is no medical reason for weight gain.
The vet will determine your dog’s health and define a weight loss program tailored solely to his needs.
Adjust the dog’s diet to his new needs
During the diet program, your dog should consume a smaller amount of high-quality food with a gradual increase in physical activity.
If your dog belongs to a smaller breed then we recommend this healthy meal. It’s about Small breed dog food clinically proven for weight management
Here you can see a perfectly balanced ready-made food that helps your dog control his calorie intake while providing him with the necessary amount of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.
It is a product composed of the highest quality substances that will help your dog have a balanced and healthy meal.
Allow your dog regular physical activity
In addition to the diet, it would be good to increase the physical activity of the dog.
If you want your dog to expend extra energy and thus maintain an ideal body weight then entertain him with ALLRIER Dog Chew Toy. It is ideal for all ages of dogs. Your dog will expend energy and will also have fun.
Of course, training should be gradually intensified, so that excessive physical effort would not endanger the health of your dog.
Start with light walks for an hour, and after that period, extend that time interval.
It is usually recommended that an adult dog have at least 3 walks a day, one of which lasts 1.5 to 2 hours.
Once the dog has gained a certain level of fitness, you can complete the walks by playing with a ball or, even better, with other dogs.
Losing unwanted pounds in dogs is a long and slow process, which, above all, requires patience and discipline of the owner.
Sometimes it’s really hard to resist their big eyes looking at us pleadingly as we sit at the table, but instead of extra food, show the dog love by playing and cuddling together.