Just as cats came from wild mountain feral cats and ancient lions, dogs are mutated (through cross-breeding) from domesticated wolves or an ancient wild dog breeds. Even though they are domesticated, they still retain some of their strong predatory instincts which make them active and live a healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately, dogs suffer from obesity just as much as humans do and in North America alone roughly 30% of the general dog population is obese.
Ways to Tell if Dog is Obese
Dogs generally live between 10 – 13 years and should stay at an ideal body weight throughout their lifespan. It isn’t necessary to weight your dog on a scale. When pressing down gently on Fido’s rib cage, you should be able to see and feel the ribs easily. If you need to press more firmly, Fido may be overweight.
What Causes Obesity in Dogs?
Three reasons why dogs are obese include an owner’s misunderstanding of how much food/activity their dog should receive and medical conditions that can influence their weight.
- Overfeeding: start with the feeding guide on your dog food’s label to determine how much your dog should be fed taking into consideration how much activity they receive per day. For example, an inactive 40 pound corgi might receive two cups while an active 40 pound border collie would receive more. Remember, treats should be included in their total amount of daily calories – if you give numerous treats, cut back on the amount of food.
- Lack of Exercise: The amount of exercise your dog needs is determined by size, breed, age, and overall health; however, spending 30-120 minutes on daily activity will keep them from gaining weight. Keep in mind that some dogs need rigorous exercise so a casual stroll around the block might not be sufficient.
- Medical Conditions: according to PetMd, the following Hypothyroidism, Insulinoma, Hyperadrenocorticism and Neutering can cause dogs to become obese.
Signs and Symptoms
- Weight gain
- Little or no waistline
- Rib-cage cannot be determined due to thick layer of fat covering the area
- Excess body fat
- Distended abdomen
- Lack of grooming
- Lack of mobility
- Difficulty breathing
Recent studies reveal that fat releases a specific type of hormone that causes inflammation in dogs. Inflammation is a catalyst for diseases in the dog’s body and obese dogs have a higher risk in developing:
- Cancers, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and hypertension
- Osteoarthritis and the rapid degeneration of the bones near the affected joints
- Urinary bladder stones
- Anesthetic complications because dogs are not very tolerant to heat
Your Course of Action
Talk to your veterinarian regularly and listen to what she has to say about Fido’s health. Plan your dog’s diet to ensure it has low calories and high nutrients. Organize a workout routine for your dog as well to ensure that he/she burns stored fat on a daily basis until they get back to their ideal weight. If they’ve developed diseases, coordinate with your veterinarian to ensure you have the proper medication and health supplements for a quick recovery.
Feel your dog might be overweight? Don’t have enough time to provide the 30-120 minutes daily to keep them trim? Hire a dog walker! At TAILored Pet Services, our trained dog walkers deliver loving, attentive and compassionate care to your furry babies. To know more about our exercise services, visit the dog walking page.