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The Ugly Truth About Obese Dogs

Dogs die as a result of obesity, pet owners need to take better care of their pets.

Obesity is a nutritional disease which is by definition an excess of body fat. All animals are capable of suffering from this disease and sadly, obesity can lead to a number of other sicknesses and diseases, if not treated right. In the case of dogs, it begins when they are over nourished, do not or lack exercise, and gain weight that is retained rather than expelled. The worst part about poor dog health care is that it can reduce your pet’s lifespan and can cause serious adverse health effects. The digestive organs can even cause breathing difficulty due to the excess fat over the lungs.  Obesity can also affect your pooche regardless of your dog’s age, although it is more common in dogs who are between the ages of 5-10. Dogs with a higher risk of obesity tend to be the ones that only stay indoors and have been neutered because they no longer have the energy they once possessed when they were puppies.

The earliest signs of obesity would be waddling from side to side rather than walking straight, being lethargic or lazy, an obvious amount of excess body fat, lack of motivation to take walks, difficulty breathing, noisy breathing patterns, and of course, if given an obesity assessment that results in low test scores. But it is not always easy to determine if your dog has become obese. Canine owners see their pets everyday and a gradual increase of weight is not always something the human eye is able to measure. Some dog breeds have thick and long hair and that makes it even harder to determine if your dog has gained any weight or not.

It is also important to note that these signs can be triggered or caused by other conditions that are not related to obesity, so at this point it would be best to see your vet. By doing so, you also eliminate potential underlying problems and can rule out other possible diseases or sicknesses.

Most dog owners and veterinarians find that the best results are those done by feeling your hands through their bodies. The ribs should be easy to feel without having to apply too much pressure; their chests, abdomens, and hips should also form a waist like “hourglass” shape when viewed from a specific top angle.

Let’s also not forget that it does not take kilos and kilos of excess body fat to reduce a dog’s life span or endanger him from an early death. But it is true that obesity causes other infectious diseases such as cancer, arthritis, skin disorders, high blood pressure, respiratory issues, reproductive irregularities, diabetes, as well as neurological and musculoskeletal diseases. Maintaining a dog’s optimal body weight is the best thing you can do for your best friend.


What is the best diet for my dog?

There are a number of causes that determine how obesity is caused. The most common being the unequal balance of food intake and digestion. Or in other words, eating without exercising. Older dogs tend to be a more likely target of obesity because they will likely have a lesser desire to run around and play. Another common cause would be, like humans, a poor diet. Many dog owners give loads of treats or even human food like chocolate and these are not exactly healthy nutritional meals for your pet.

Any excess food eaten is stored as fat and if your dog is eating too many calories, or having snacks and multiple treats, then he is likely on his way to obesity. A dog’s age, breed, sex, heredity, hormonal imbalances and lifestyle will also play a role in your canine’s health.


Road to recovery!

Typically, the best way to diagnose if your dog is obese is to measure his or her body weight or by scoring their body condition after assessing their body composition. These results will then be compared to a healthy dog breeds standard. An excess of 10 to 15 percent of excess body weight states that your dog is indeed obese.

Luckily, treating a dog with obesity is doable and not the hardest or most challenging thing to do. You veterinarian can prepare a plan for your canine’s diet while you yourself contribute to treating your dog by reducing his or her calorie intake as well as spending more time exercising. If you are able to focus on losing weight and keeping your dog’s weight in check, this long term plan can surely be a great turn of events for your dog and a much healthier life can be lived.

If you are unable to seek the professional help of a veterinarian, you can start by feeding your dog meals that are rich in protein and fiber but low in fat. You can limit their caloric intake by reducing the amount of food given to them at each feeding time. Feeding frequent small meals also helps as your dog will feel more full throughout the day as opposed to having one large meal. By doing these, you will then be encouraging a quicker metabolism while offering the satisfaction of feeling full. Do that and your dog won’t be begging for treats every few minutes. And while we’re on the topic of treats, people should really stop feeding their pets people food, or table scraps, even if your loved Husky is looking at you with his puppy dog eyes begging for your left overs. People food are full of calories and fat. If you must feed your dog food from your plate, feed him raw carrots, rice cakes, and green beans instead, they are healthier alternatives.


Man’s best friend

Don’t forget physical activity. Play with your dog. Make him fetch, run, walk, chase, hunt. 15 minutes a day, two times a day, while playing every now and then inside the house is already plenty and you will see results.

Caring for a dog has a gratifying feeling that is difficult to replicate. Once at your dog is at an ideal weight, it is really best to establish and maintain a proper diet for him. Your canine should be monitored monthly, the exercise must continue, and with a commitment to making your pet as healthy as possible, you will be able to sleep at night knowing that your dog is receiving the best love and care that he deserves.

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