Obesity In Dogs

obesity in dogsDid you know that over forty percent of dogs are overweight?  It’s true!  Well, at least in North America it is!  That’s a scary statistic as it has serious ramifications for our beloved canines.  Obesity in dogs leads to some serious health issues and even worse, premature death.  While canine obesity does not only impact senior dogs, it is too often at this stage of life where we begin to see the ravaging effects of canine obesity.

So why are forty percent of our dogs over weight? There are many reasons obesity in dogs.  Just like humans, diet, disease, exercise and genetics all play a part.

Obesity in Dogs:

Diet.  What are you feeding your dog? Many commercial dog foods are laden with sugar, fat and grains.  This type of diet lacks the vitamins and nutrients that dogs need to stay healthy.  These commercial foods are essentially fillers that don’t meet our dog’s dietary needs which in turn leads our dogs to eat more than necessary.  Additionally, your dog’s diet should be suited for his lifestyle.  A very active dog will need a diet suited for burning off high amounts of energy.  Similarly, an inactive or less active dog, such as senior dogs may not be suited for a high energy diet.

Exercise.  People forget that even senior dogs need exercise, too.  In fact, often times a senior dog needs just as much exercise as his younger counterparts but his regime should be less rigorous.

Hypothyroidism.  An underactive thyroid can cause your dog to pack on the pounds, and fast, too!  The activity of the thyroid impacts how fast or slow fat is burned.

Breed.  Did you know that certain breeds are prone to obesity?  Shelties, Beagles, Cairn Terriers, and Cocker Spaniels are a few breeds that are more likely to gain unwanted pounds.

Extra weight on your dog’s body puts him at risk for developing many health issues and diseases. Diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, Arthritis and liver disease are ALL associated with weight gain in dogs.  While some dogs may suddenly gain weight, it usually happens over a period of time. Carefully monitor your dog’s weight, keep him on a high quality diet and be sure that he’s getting a daily dose of exercise – at least 30 minutes. Keeping up with regularly scheduled examinations at the vet is equally as important as the aforementioned tips.  Being seen regularly by the vet will increase the likelihood that the weight gain will be detected and addressed sooner rather than later.

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