Here’s How To Help Your Dog Lose The Pounds And Get A New Lease On Life
Obesity is a big problem in dogs across the country. According to the Association for Pet Obesity, over 50% of dogs are overweight. Overweight dogs might look cuddly and cute, but obesity has serious complications for your canine friends. Dogs are, at the end of the day, animals who have nutritional and activity needs. When these are not met, their bodies are negatively affected. A dog is not affected by body image, but he is affected when he can’t play at the dog park or run around with his family.
Common Effects Of Obesity
Obesity in humans and dogs have many similarities, including the side effects of it. However, while a human can understand what is happening to her, a dog cannot. It is up to us to be vigilant so that we can prevent these problems in our pooches.
One of the first places to be affected when dogs put on weight is the joints. It causes arthritis. As the weight increases, the added pressure erodes cartilage that makes smooth movement possible. Your dog develops lethargy because it is painful to move, and loses mobility over time. If your dog is overweight, then losing the weight takes off the extra pressure and this helps reduce the pain and increase mobility and independence. Obesity is also linked to ACL injuries, which are both painful and expensive.
Diabetes and Hypertension
There is a link between the increasing number of overweight dogs and the increase in diabetes in dogs. You can cut down the risk of your dog developing diabetes simply by exercising them more and controlling their diet. Diabetes can also lead to a number of other conditions, which then becomes very difficult to manage. Hypertension, or high blood pressure, can lead to congestive heart failure, a fatal condition.
The added pressures of obesity do a number on the immune system. Obese dogs have compromised immune systems, leaving them open to infection. Their body then needs to fight harder and longer if any infections happen, weakening them. Any cuts or scratches take longer to heal, especially if the dog is developing diabetes. With lowered immunity, the risk of cancer also increases.
These are not the only conditions whose possibility increases with overweight dogs. Breathing problems, heart problems, inflammation, and slipped disc are other conditions that your dog is now more likely to have because he is overweight.
Help! My Dog Is Overweight! What Can I Do?
Most pet owners don’t even notice that their pet is overweight. Especially with fluffy dogs, it’s slightly difficult to know what’s happening under the fur. So when you notice that Fido is a little chunkier than he used to be, there are some simple steps you can take to rectify it.
As with humans, weight loss in dogs happens when he expends more calories than he consumes. Take him on longer walks, if he can tolerate it. If your dog is severely obese, then he does not have the ability to take long walks. He is at risk for overheating and exhaustion, so it is better to take short walks, making them more and more frequent as time goes by. This builds up the dog’s stamina and does not further damage his joints as well.
Switch To Diet Food
Diet dog food is basically a diet plan for your dog. It is formulated to be low calorie and has instructions on portion size. There is a guarantee that your dog is getting all the energy and nutrition he needs, without the extra calories that he was getting before. When exercise by itself along with changes to a homemade diet has not been the answer, it might be time to switch to diet dog food like Royal Canin Veterinary Diet low fat dry dog food. These have been proven to work on a large number of dogs, and it makes the process easy and hassle-free for both you and your dog.
Family pets and working animals get a lot of love from their humans, especially in the form of food. We often don’t even notice the snacks that we keep giving to our dogs. A cube of cheese here, some crisps there, or a slice of bacon once in a while all add up. You need to be aware of the treats and snacks you are giving, and stop. Also check if your dog is getting food from somewhere unsupervised, like the trash. This is harmful for him because he may be eating a lot of food that isn’t meant for dogs or is spoilt, and because he is eating a lot of extra food this way. Secure your garbage bins inside the house and try to ensure your dog doesn’t go into that area unsupervised.