Fat and Obese Dogs Live Shorter Lives
Obesity is one of the most important health concerns facing
dogs. If you love your dog, you should do something about it.
Overweight dogs live shorter and less healthy lives and your
enjoyment of their precious companionship may be shortened
because of it.
Extra pounds place an excess burden on bones and joints and
can make arthritis problems worse. Overweight dogs are less able
to exercise and play comfortably and their breathing can become
labored. Their bodies may be less able to resist infections, and
they may be at greater risk for problems during surgery and
Potential health problems might include:
* Joint or Locomotion Difficulties. Extra pounds add stress to
joints, bones, ligaments and muscles. Conditions such as
arthritis, hip dysplasia, spinal disc disease and ruptures of
joint ligaments may be caused or aggravated by obesity.
* Heart and Respiratory Disease. Excess fat tissue in the
chest cavity and around the muscles of the heart can decrease the
efficiency of the heart and lungs. Your dog's heart and lungs
have to work harder to provide adequate oxygen and
* Diabetes. Just as in humans, diabetes is much more common in
* Liver Disease. Obese dogs are prone to liver disease.
* Heat Intolerance. The insulating properties of excessive fat
make it harder for obese dogs to tolerate heat and they feel
* Skin Problems. Obese dogs may have trouble grooming because
the rolls of skin built up by fat deposits can often harbor dirt,
bacteria and other harmful organisms.
* Gastrointestinal Disorders. Inflammation of the pancreas is
frequently found in obese dogs. It is painful and can be life
How Dogs Become Overweight?
Dogs most always become overweight from lack of good exercise
and from eating more food than they require. Food calories which
aren't burned during their daily activities are stored as
Overeating can result from greediness, boredom, or
overfeeding. Feeding leftovers or giving frequent snacks or
treats often contributes to excess weight problems.
Puppies that have been over-fed tend to become overweight
dogs. They also have a greater risk of developing orthopedic
problems. Properly feed puppies will be less likely to suffer
from weight problems later in life.
Occasionally, metabolic disorders can cause a dog to become
overweight. But overfeeding and under exercising are much more
common causes of excess weight. If your veterinarian suspects
that a metabolic disorder is causing your dog to gain weight, he
or she will test for that disorder and treat it accordingly.
How Can I Tell if My Dog is Overweight?
A quick check is to feel your dog's ribs with the flat palm of
your hand. If you have difficulty feeling his ribs, then your dog
probably needs to lose weight.
Helping Your Dog Lose Weight.
Weight loss for most dogs involves increased exercise and
eating food with fewer calories. It's generally easier to feed
normal amounts of a low-calorie dog food than to feed much
smaller amounts of his/her regular dog food. In addition, your
dog will not feel as hungry when fed a normal amount of food.
Dieting for Dogs.
Your vet will help set a weight goal for your dog and will
recommend how much food she should eat each day. A special diet
may also be prescribed. The food choice should be designed to
satisfy your dog's hunger and give her all the vitamins and
minerals she needs for a balanced diet.
Your dog may need a gradual transition from the old to the new
diet. So, you would feed him increasing amounts of the new diet
while decreasing the amounts of the previous diet each day over
several days until the transition is complete.
To help prevent your dog from begging, feed him before your
family eats, and keep him out of the room during your meal. It is
also a good idea to feed overweight dogs at the same time as
other pets to help prevent food stealing from their slimmer
companions. Always provide plenty of clean, fresh drinking
Regular exercise such as walks or runs is good for most dogs
because it increases the number of calories they burn. If your
dog is old or in poor health, check with your vet before
The time period your dog will require to lose weight depends
upon how much weight she is required to lose. Your dog may need 8
to 14 weeks or longer to reach her target weight.
What Type of Dog Food is Good for Weight Control?
A dieting dog has special nutritional needs. His diet should
be balanced with a proper ratio of protein, fat and
carbohydrates. The diet should also provide a normal volume of
food to help him from feeling hungry. It should also provide the
required amount of quality nutrients.
Weight loss plans don't need to include high levels of fiber.
Fiber is not necessary for weight loss in pets, and in large
amounts, it may have side effects such as increased feces and
lack of interest in the food because of its poor taste.
There are many brands of food that can help your fat dog lose
weight. We suggest that you choose a brand with the proper
balance of protein, fat and carbohydrate so his or her body can
operate at its maximum efficiency while shedding unwanted
Bev Storer is a writer and researcher. For more information
about healthy dog foods, please visit http://www.dog-food-zone.com
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