You come home from work and your furry pooch runs to great you, wagging his tail and barking. You immediately go to the dog’s cookie jar and get him a yummy snack. While he is munching down his after work treat you notice that your dog friend is getting a little round around the middle!
Obesity in Dogs
Obesity is a nutritional disease and is simply an excess amount of fat. Your dog is considered obese if they weigh more than 20% above the optimum weight for their breed. Obesity has become a big problem in dogs and vets state that 25 – 30 % of all dogs are obese.
The American Kennel Club has a chart to look up your dog’s breed for their ideal weight. Obviously, this does not work as well for mixed breeds or rescues but can be seen as a starting guide.
How Does Obesity Effect Your Dogs Health?
Obesity negatively affects your dog’s health and their lifespan. Robin Downing, DVM states that excess fat contributes to inflammation and creates oxidative stress which can lead to disease.
Obesity can be a sign of several serious problems as well including hypothyroidism and Cushing’s disease. It can lead to diabetes and urinary bladder stones as well.
A check-up with your vet is recommended. Many vets are now using the Healthy Weight Protocol which uses computer software to input weight data for your pup. The software program then analyzes the data and makes suggestions regarding a healthy weight.
What Causes Obesity in Dogs?
The most common cause of obesity in dogs is the pet owner! Obesity is often caused by too much food or the wrong types of food. This is never an intentional problem. Pet owners want their dog to be happy. And rewarding them with a treat does make them happy.
We talk a lot about good nutrition in this blog. Your dog needs to eat a healthy, balanced diet that is right for their body. That means proteins, vegetables and small amounts of carbs.
How Can I Help My Dog Lose Weight?
Losing weight means reducing calories and getting more exercise. Start feeding healthy snacks such as carrots or cooked broccoli can be given instead of a commercial dog biscuit. Our salmon treats are a healthy low-calorie treat.
Making your dogs food is a great way to ensure high nutrition and low-calorie meals. Check with your vet on the ideal calories you should be feeding your dog. Feeding two or three small meals a day may be better so that your dog does not feel hungry.
Strategies to Help Your Dog Get More Exercise
- Lengthen the amount of time you spend walking your dog
- Hire a dog walker for a mid-day walk if you are at work all day
- Take your dog to a dog park to play with other dogs
- Play ball or frisbee with your dog
- Make a play date for your dog
- Set up an obstacle course in your yard for your dog
- Take your dog on family outings to the park or beach
Playing with your dog will help them (and you) get some much need exercise. But it will also help your dog feel happy and less stressed. This will contribute to their overall health.
Reward your dog often with love. A hug, quick rub or a pat on the head can make them just as happy as getting a dog treat.