Having your dog become overweight or obese can be dangerous and detrimental to their health, as dog obesity can lead to several illnesses and health complications which can affect your pet even on a long-term scale! Therefore, it’s extremely important to make sure all dog owners are aware of the causes leading to dog obesity and the signs that your dog may be suffering from this nutritional disease, in order to prevent it or treat it in its early stages.
Your dog’s weight will tell a lot about their health, and therefore its necessary to make sure your dog’s weight is kept at a steady healthy level rather than allowing it to become overweight!
What is dog obesity and what are the causes?
Canine obesity is the most common nutritional disorder found in dogs and is generally defined by excess body fat resulting in an overweight condition. Obesity causes lasting damage to your pet’s body, affecting even their internal organs, bones and joints – some of which can even linger after your dog has sought treatment and lost the excess weight!
The causes of dog obesity can be linked to an imbalance in the dog’s energy intake and its usage, where a dog is eating more calories than it can burn off. This is usually due to lack of sufficient exercise and overfeeding. Obesity can also be linked to other causes that are more specific to individual medical cases, such as an individual’s dog age, sex, breed and whether or not they are neutered. Neutered dogs are more prone to obesity due to changes in hormone levels.
What are the signs?
Signs of obesity are generally easy to spot, and they include weight gain, excessive body fat and the inability or unwillingness to exercise.
What are the risks?
Not only does obesity affect your dog’s mobility and overall comfort, but obesity in dogs leads to many health risks and complications which can plague your dog on a long-term scale, including the development of certain illnesses. The problems and risks associated with obesity include:
- diabetes or insulin resistance
- liver dysfunction or disease
- skin diseases
- exercise intolerance
- heart diseases
- increased risk of developing tumours
- decreased function in the immune system
Prevention and treatment
As a dog owner, it is your responsibility to make sure your dog remains healthy and at a steady weight. Means of preventing your dog from becoming overweight or developing obesity include regular walks and daily exercise to make sure your dog is developing strong muscles and burning the calories of their food.
Another very important precaution is to avoid overfeeding your dog, especially when it comes to treats which are usually instrumental in leading to excessive weight gain in dogs. If your dog is already used to overeating, consult your vet with the most appropriate method of feeding to make sure your dog stays satisfied while also staying at a healthy weight.
Diets which are rich in protein and fibre but are low in fat are usually recommended to assist with weight loss, as it gives the dog sufficient energy and satisfying their appetite. Moreover, try to replace your treats with healthier alternatives, such as carrot stick treats, which are known to be healthier for your dog.
If you suspect your dog may be obese, take them to the vet to make sure the disorder hasn’t lead to any other illnesses or health impairments!