If you watch the news or look around you when you go out in public, you know there is a serious problem of obesity in America. Unfortunately, it is not just the human population overcome by this epidemic, the dog and cat population has the same issue. Since pets typically aren’t able to open a can and feed themselves, we have no one to blame but ourselves for putting our beloved pets at risk. If you have an overweight dog or cat, it is your responsibility to help them lose weight and regain their health. They are counting on you. The longer you wait, the harder it is to reverse the damage to their bodies. Obesity can and will take years off of the life of your pet.
How to tell if your dog is overweight
Before you can proceed with helping your dog, the first thing you need to do is find out if they are overweight. When you rub their sides, you should be able to easily feel their ribs without having to push through a pillow of fat to get there. Please note, you should only be able to feel his ribs, if you can see his ribs, it is a sign that he is underweight, which is almost as dangerous as being too fat.
A second method is to look at them from above. If a normal weight, they will have a bit of an hourglass shape between ribs and hips. Visual tips are usually better than a weight chart because each dog varies within the breed. These are effective tips for all dog breeds. Each dog has their own ideal weight, just like people do.
If you allow your dog to stay overweight for a long period of time, he is at much higher risk to develop chronic health conditions. These may include:
- Thyroid problems
- back pain
- arthritis in the knees, hips, and elbows
- heavy panting or problems breathing
- Heart disease
- digestive issues
Even if you have observed these conditions in your dog, it is not too late to change the direction of their health problems. If he loses weight now, the problems will likely lessen and his quality of life will improve. It is also likely to reduce the need for medications.
Remember that rapid weight loss or gain can be an indicator of unseen health problems. If you are noticing a sudden change in behavior, health or weight and there is not an obvious reason, it is always best to check with your veterinarian.
Fattest Dog Breeds:
All breeds of dogs can become overweight or obese, however, the following breeds need to be extra careful about gaining weight.
- Labrador Retrievers
- Golden Retrievers
- Cocker Spaniels
- Scottish Terriers
- Basset Hounds
How To Achieve A Healthy Weight
Just like with people, diet and exercise are the top choices for effective and lasting weight loss. Also, like with people, one diet does not fit all. Each dog has their own dietary needs. What works for one dog, may not work for the next.
The problem may not be the quantity of food you are giving them. It might be the type of food that you feed your dog or even the brand of dog food you have chosen. Perhaps the type and quantity you are giving your dog is fine, you just need to get him out for some exercise more frequently. Are you feeding them table scraps? There may be a lot of calories that you are not accounting for.
It is best to consult with your veterinarian if you aren’t sure about the food options. Visiting your vet will also rule out any potential medical conditions that may be causing the weight gain. If you were to automatically cut back on the amount of food to encourage weight loss and it was instead an underlying medical issue, you could cause malnutrition in your dog.
Dog Treats Are Extra Calories
Dog treat can also add to a weight problem without you thinking too much about it. Just like us needing to cut down on between-meal snacks to lose weight, so do our dogs. If you are using treats for training, just cut down on the size of the treats, or the size of the meals. Your goal is the balance the overall calorie intake for the day.
Points To Consider
Puppies are naturally chubby especially their belly. As they grow they will start to thin out. A fatter puppy is normal and nothing to worry about.
As dog’s age, they tend to gain weight as their metabolism slows down. If you see your older dog starting to gain weight, it may be time to switch them to a senior formula and reduce the size or frequency of their treats. Exercise is crucial for your aging dog. Arthritis is very common in older dogs. The best thing you can do for your arthritic dog is gentle exercise. Movement will ease the pain and reduce the stiffness in their joints.
Diet and exercise are the two key factors in long-term health and wellbeing whether you are a human or a dog, Why not partner up with your furry friend and commit to a healthy lifestyle for the both of you?