Did you know that over half of our canine companions are obese? We know, chubby pets are cute. However, that extra weight puts Fido at risk of developing several serious health problems. Read on as a Lasalle County, IL vet discusses obesity in dogs.
Dogs are considered overweight when they weigh more than 10 percent over their ideal body weight. Once a pooch weighs over 20 percent more than he should, he’s officially obese. Of course, many people don’t know what their furry buddies should weigh. Plus, gauging Fido’s body condition can be tricky with fluffy dogs. You can get an idea by doing the rib test. However, your vet is going to be the ultimate authority on this.
Scientists are still learning about how fat behaves, and how it affects the body. One of the dangers here is that fat secretes hormones that contribute to many different diseases. Some of the health risks obese pups face include reproductive issues, liver and kidney trouble, hypertension, osteoarthritis, and bladder stones, to name a few. Plus, that extra weight will strain Fido’s bones and joints, cardiovascular system, and respiratory system. Overweight dogs also have shorter life expectancy than their trimmer buddies. In fact, one study of Labrador Retrievers found that being even moderately overweight shortens their life expectancy by two years!
As one may suspect, diet plays a huge role in dogs’ weight. Portion sizes are crucial here. Even overfeeding your canine buddy by a few calories a day can cause him to pack on pounds. It’s also worth mentioning that Man’s Best Friend is very, very good at getting us to share our snacks with him. Ask your vet for specific advice, and let that guidance—not Fido’s cajoling stare—determine what’s on the menu.
Do you have a chubby pup on your hands? Consult your vet before putting Fido on a diet. Just like people, dogs must lose weight slowly to do so safely.
Fido needs proper activity to stay fit and healthy. The amount and type of exercise needed varies from pooch to pooch: a Chihuahua’s ideal workout regimen is very different from a German Shepherd’s! That said, most pups need at least a daily walk. Ask your vet for more information.
Do you have questions about your dog’s diet or care? Contact us, your local Lasalle County, IL animal clinic, today!