Obesity in Dogs
Obesity today is one of the most common nutritional diseases in dogs. Defined as exceeding ideal body weight by 20 percent, it’s a leading cause of many issues in pets. If portion control is not monitored, both puppies and mature dogs can gain weight exponentially.
Causes of Obesity:
There are many reasons a dog can become overweight. The most obvious cause is improper diet and lack of sufficient exercise. If you are feeding your dog too much or a high protein/fatty food without exercising them, they are more at risk to gain weight. If your dog is recovering from surgery or illness, they may also gain weight due to inactivity.
Lastly, genetics play a huge role. Certain dog breeds are simply more prone to obesity than others, such as Bulldogs, Beagles, Dachshunds,and Pugs. Keep this in mind and make sure to monitor food intake if you have a breed prone to weight gain.
A chubby pup may be a cute thing to admire but it can cause a lot of internal damage.
Obesity can cause serious issues such as:
- Cardiac disease
- Diabetes Mellitus
- High Blood Pressure
- Joint/Foot Injuries
- Respiratory Issues
- Various types of cancer
Is My Dog Overweight?
You can often see the telltale signs of obesity in a dog, but sometimes it sneaks up on you. If your dog is gaining weight gradually it may go unnoticed at first. A few early warning signs may include refusal to exercise and laziness.
There are some basic things you can do at home to evaluate your dog’s weight. If you believe the problem is more than just a weight issue, contact your vet immediately.
- Touch the ribs of your dog, if you are unable to feel them over a very thin layer of fat this is a warning sign of a weight issue.
- Check for an upward tuck of your dogs abdominal area, if there is little or no tuck your dog may be overweight.
Your best bet is to take your pet for annual check-ups to make sure nothing is wrong and touch base on nutritional needs of your pet as they age.
Managing Your Dog’s Weight:
If you suspect your dog needs to shed a few pounds, or you are looking to maintain a healthy weight in your pet, talk to your vet about ways to balance nutrition and exercise properly for your dog. That program will consist mainly of a structured diet and an exercise plan. Daily walks or other exercise will help keep your dog happy, healthy, and active. It is always best to talk to your vet before you change a feeding schedule, food amount, or brand of dog food.