Dog Weight Management – Dealing with Dog Weight Problems
Almost half of the dog population is classified as overweight, yet many pet owners may not be fully aware of this weight problem.
Different breeds of dogs have different ideal weights which are standards which have been established. In order to be sure that the weight of your canine friend falls within these accepted healthy limits, ask your veterinarian and read up on your dog’s breed.
How to assess if your pet is overweight or underweight
Running your hands on your dog’s side can provide a clue on your dog’s weight. For dogs with normal weights, you should be able to feel each rib easily. Protruding ribs may indicate an underweight dog, while you can hardly feel the ribs when your dog’s overweight.
The next thing you can do is to look at your pet from the side. Does your dog have a waist line? Dogs which are underweight will usually have an extremely tucked abdomen. On the other hand, overweight dogs have no waist and they usually have prominent abdomens.
Predisposing factors of obesity in dogs
Diet and lack of exercise are two of the most obvious culprits in dog obesity. Dogs that are still recovering from an injury or illness usually need to remain sedentary thereby increasing their risk for weight gain. An unexplained gain in weight can also be a symptom of Cushing’s disease or hypothyroidism which is caused by a hormonal imbalance. There are also certain breeds of dogs that have a genetic predisposition for obesity. Some of these breeds include Pugs, Beagles, English Bulldogs, and Dachshunds.
What are the health implications of obesity?
An overweight or obese dog is prone to developing a significant number of serious health problems. Some of the important disease conditions where obesity has been shown to play an important role include: Cancer
- Cardiac Disease
- Diabetes mellitus
- Orthopedic problems and injuries
- Respiratory disorders
Managing your dog’s weight
If your dog is experiencing weight problems, it is best that you work with your veterinarian to make an effective weight management program that is designed to suit your dog’s situation. Basically, the program will be made up of a diet and exercise regimen for your pet. Your vet will also put up specific milestones and schedule regular checkups to keep an eye on your dog’s progress. Weighing your dog every week or two will also help in monitoring any change in weight.
Working with your veterinarian will also ensure that your dog is monitored for any potential health concerns as your pet starts on his regimen.
As for your dog’s exercise routine, gradually build up the time and intensity of his workouts. Dogs which are overweight are at higher risks for hyperthermia (overheating) and breathing problems.
Cutting back on snacks is also a wise move because dog treats have been demonstrated to add a significant amount of calories to your pet’s diet. You can also choose to give healthier treats by making your own dog treats.