For many years now, there have been warnings plastered everywhere about the devastating effects obesity has on humans. It can cause everything from emotional damage to death. But it seems those warnings aren’t sinking in, and the problem is only getting worse. It’s gotten so bad that it is now affecting the family pets. According to Petmd.com 50 percent of dogs in America are obese. Below we will explore the causes of obesity in dogs and what to do to help your dog lose the weight.
As you may suspect, the most common cause of obesity in dogs is overfeeding. You may not even know that you are overfeeding your dog. But all the meals and little treats can add up to a serious weight problem.
It’s also possible that what you are feeding your dog is causing its weight issues. A veterinarian once told me about some store bought dog foods that are the equivalent of feeding your dog from a fast food restaurant at every meal. These foods are unhealthy for any dog.
Not providing your dog with the chance to get enough exercise to burn off the calories he/she is taking in, will also cause weight issues. Even if you are feeding them correctly.
If you feel that you are doing all the right things for your dog and its still showing signs of a weight problem, it could have underlying medical issues, like a thyroid problem. Take your dog to see your veterinarian to rule out potential health problems.
Affects of obesity:
Most people aren’t aware that if their dog is just five pounds overweight, it is a major issue. Those five pounds are taking years off your dog’s life. There are a lot of medical issues that being obese can cause your dog, and according to Alldoghealth.com some of them are:
Damage to bones
Damage to ligaments
High blood pressure
Decreased liver function
Skin and coat problems
Increased risk of cancer
Obese dogs are like obese humans, their lives tend to end prematurely due to the strain the extra weight puts on their bodies.
Now that you know what causes obesity, and the damage it can cause, you may be asking yourself, how can I prevent my dog from becoming obese? Also, if your dog is already overweight, you may also be wondering how to get them back to a healthy weight. Luckily, there are ways to prevent your dog from becoming overweight, and to help you get your obese dog back to a healthy weight.
Preventing a healthy dog with no underlying medical issues from becoming overweight or obese is usually fairly simple. You should talk to your veterinarian about what brands of dog food are best for your dog’s breed. Also, ask him/her what the recommended amount of food for your dog is. Knowing what to feed your dog and how much, will go a long way to help keep them at a healthy weight.
Exercise is another great weapon in the battle against dog obesity. Make sure that you are allowing your dog to get enough exercise. Taking your dog for regular daily walks and whenever possible take him/her to a place where they run and play freely.
If your dog is already overweight, the severity of the condition will determine what the best course of action will be. Talk to your veterinarian about your dog’s weight. There are several prescription foods that can be prescribed to your dog by its veterinarian that are formulated to help your dog lose the extra weight. Two of the more popular brands are Purina’s Veterinary Diets OM Overweight Management and Hill’s Prescription Diet r/d.
The road to recovery can be a long one, depending on the health of your dog. It doesn’t take days or weeks for your dog be become overweight and your dog isn’t going to return to a healthy weight quickly either. It’s important that you as a dog owner work closely with your dog’s veterinarian to find the healthiest way for your dog to lose the extra pounds. Never force your dog to go without food or water to lower his/her weight. Starving your dog is never an option.
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