Obesity in Dogs: How It Affects Dogs and How to Help Control It
Obesity may be the number one health problem for domestic pets. And, obesity leads to inactivity, which leads to more obesity and health conditions like heart and liver disease, diabetes, arthritis, and an increased surgical/anesthesia risk. Studies of our pets have shown that a quarter to a third of all American pets could stand to lose weight. As veterinary professionals, even we have trouble keeping a pet with a propensity to be overweight as healthy as we can.
Casey is one of the breeds that is prone to obesity. Other breeds include Beagles, Dachshunds, Huskies, Labrador Retrievers, Malamutes, & Shelties.
Ten Ways You Can Help:
1. Long daily walks can help combat excess weight; they’re good for you as an owner and they can increase the bond you have with your pet. Playing fetch is also effective.
2. Do not give table scraps or people food. You may be giving more than you realize.
3. Try to decrease food amounts. Start by decreasing by about 10% and decrease by 10% increments if your dog is not losing weight.
4. Treats should be given sparingly. Use lower fat alternatives such as Grain-Free Premium Natural Biscuits or Healthy Chews with Sweet Potatoes.
5. Feed a lower calorie food. Be sure that the food is of a high quality, since your pet will not be getting as many calories.
6. Salt-free canned vegetables, such as string beans, can be used to bulk up the food. If you don’t want to spend the extra money on a low sodium product, rinse the vegetables well under running water.
7. If your dog’s constitution can tolerate vegetables like broccoli or carrots, they are a good way of getting more bulk into your dog’s diet.
8. Use physical aids like ramps or stairs to assist pets that have trouble accessing automobiles or furniture while you work on introducing healthy activity.
9. Start your pet on a joint support product such as Joint Care 1 Plus before joint issues arise. If your pet already has joint problems, ask your veterinarian about prescription options.
10. Make sure your overweight pet has a comfortable bed that provides orthopedic support and elevates your pet off cold, hard floors.
How do you know your dog is healthy?
Look for the following hints that all is well:
• Supple skin
• A shiny, full coat without bare areas
• Clear eyes
• Bright pink gums
• Unobjectionable breath
• An alert, happy attitude when he’s not resting
• Enthusiasm for favorite games or activities
• Free, athletic movement
• Good appetite
• Regular, firm stools
• Moderate weight (a thin layer of fat over his ribs and a slight “waist”)
• Normal body temperature (between 99.5 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit)