Obesity has been a growing concern in North America with many people. As a result of fatty foods, not enough exercise, over eating and genetic problems obesity has become an epidemic.
This issue and concern around obesity has also been a growing problem among dogs.
It seems as though our bad habits have been adopted by our loving furry animals as well.
What is obesity?
We always hear the term “obesity” and always link it to someone or something being overweight; however, it is much more than that. Someone (including your dog) is considered to be obese if they have excess body fat based on their body mass index (BMI).
In addition, obesity is difficult to control with just dieting alone. Obesity also increases your risk of developing health conditions like diabetes, heart disease and Hypertension etc.
Why do dogs become obese?
Dogs can become obese for multiple reasons:
- Eating more calories compared to the amount of exercise they do
- How the owners look after their dogs
- Some dogs have the tendency to retain weight
- Common in older dogs because they have a decrease in ability to exercise
- Neutered and indoor dogs have a higher risk to become obese
- Weight gain
- Excess body fat (based on BMI)
Risks your dog may have by being obese
There are many risks that your dog can develop if they are obese. Some of these conditions can lead to severe illness and can be life-threatening.
Here are some of the risks and conditions that are associated with your dog being obese.
- Arthritis is a painful inflammation and stiffness of the joints. Therefore, if your dog has to carry around more weight than needed it can cause joints to wear and tear. It can also cause your dog to limp, have difficulty moving, develop muscle atrophy or dying of the muscle tissue due to inactivity and decreased use of the muscles and is really painful
- Difficulties Breathing is a common risk when your dog is obese. It can be really uncomfortable and result in difficulties sleeping and being active. In addition, breathing difficulties can cause many other health concerns. For instance, it can cause disease of the nose, throat and lungs. Also can cause injury to the chest and feel enlarged or bloated because the stomach is being filling up with air
- Diabetes is increase in blood sugars where the body does not produce insulin or does not respond to it. This prevents the muscles and organs from converting glucose to energy and will result in excessive amounts of glucose in the blood. This can cause excessive urination, depression, enlarged liver, and bladder and kidney infections
- Heart Diseases are conditions that affect the structure and the functions of the heart. Many heart diseases can progress to heart failure if not taken care of. Ultimately, your dog’s body will no longer be able to fight off the diseases progress. This can result in difficult breathing, fainting and even death.
How to avoid obesity
There are many solutions to help your dog from becoming obese or even help your dog overcome obesity. Here are some things that you can do with and for your dog:
- Feed your dog the recommended potion size as indicated on the dog food label
- If your dog is suffering from obesity use a prescription diet. This will allow your dog to reduce calorie intake while getting enough nutrients
- Cut out snacks and treats
- Trade a treat for a massage or belly rub
- Reduce unhealthy snacks with healthy ones
- Visit your Vet