by Andrew Garcia
May 23, 2022
3 minute read
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- What Is Obesity in Dogs?
- Is Your Dog Overweight?
- How to Help Your Dog Maintain A Perfect Weight?
There is a weight problem in the United States. Unfortunately, this isn’t just affecting humans; it also affects felines and canines. Although many pet owners do not realize their canine friends are overweight, obesity is a huge health problem in dogs. According to a survey conducted by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 55.8 percent of dogs in the US are overweight or obese. The extra weight in dogs results in various health issues, including painful arthritis, canine diabetes, and heart problems.
What Is Obesity in Dogs?
Obesity in canines is a result of excess white adipose tissue. When your dog uses less energy than it takes in, obesity occurs. The health issues associated with obesity include decreased mobility, low quality of life, difficult breathing, hypothyroidism, and cardiovascular diseases. There is also an increased risk of cancer and hypothermia.
Watching your puppy’s stomach sway while walking may seem cute, but it isn’t good. Obesity in pups increases medical costs, causes physical ailments and health complications, and decreases life span.
Is Your Dog Overweight?
Telling if your dog is obese or overweight can be pretty tricky. However, you can check your dog at home to know if there is a weight problem. Standing above your dog and looking down on it to visually assess his weight helps you know his body condition score (BCS).
BCS assesses your dog’s physical condition and measures how easily you feel your pup’s shoulder bones and ribs. You can then assign a score between 1 and 9 based on the rules to be discussed below.
Underweight (1 - 3)
If your dog’s spine, ribs, and hip bones are visible and appear to jut out when viewed from above, assign a BCS between 1 and 3. Also, a very obvious waist, evidence of bony prominence, and loss of muscle mass fall under this category.
Ideal Weight (4 - 5)
Assign a score between four and five if your dog’s spine, ribs, and hip bones are not visible, but you can easily feel them with minimal fat covering. Also, if your dog’s waistline is easily notable when viewed from above or the abdomen is tucked up when viewed from the side, then the dog falls in this category.
Overweight to Obese (6 - 9)
Assign a score between six and nine if your dog’s spine, ribs, and hip bones are not easily visible or if you can feel them with a heavy fat cover. Also, if your dog has a diminished waist or waist you can’t see at all, it falls in this category. Furthermore, excess fat deposits on the face, limbs, and face should fall in the overweight to obese category.
Why Is Your Dog Overweight?
Several factors cause obesity in dogs, and identifying the specific cause is the first step in helping your dog reach an ideal weight.
Reasons why your dog may be overweight include;
Your pup’s weight greatly depends on the types of food and portion size you feed your dog. Giving your dog small food portions at different times during the day is better than one large meal. It is also best to consider the type of treats you give your dog. Fresh vegetables as treats are better because they help your dog achieve an ideal weight.
Dogs need to exercise outdoors. Otherwise, they become overweight and face health problems like diabetes and heart disease. In addition, if your canine friend does not get enough exercise, he may put on a lot of weight and become frustrated or bored, leading to behavioral problems. It is important to note that the amount of exercise your dog should get depends on his size, health status, breed, and age.
Despite weight gain in dogs being a huge problem, there is an increasing number of obese dogs. Older dogs have a high risk of gaining too much weight. Additionally, aging causes dogs to lose muscle mass over time, translating to fat gain. Therefore, ensure your dogs are active and healthy even in old age. And, if you have any questions, it is best to visit a vet.
How to Help Your Dog Maintain A Perfect Weight?
Your dog can live a healthier, happier, and longer life with a perfect weight. The following weight loss suggestions can help your pet maintain a perfect weight.
Monitor Food Quantity
Before feeding your dog, it is advisable to determine the daily number of calories needed. Most pet food packages have feeding guidelines. However, these guidelines are based on active adult dogs for all life stages. Consequently, it is best to reduce the recommended amount by 20 to 30% or even more if your dog is neutered, spayed, and not active.
The digestion process requires energy. Therefore, spreading out several small-portioned meals for your dog during the day can help burn calories. You can reduce appetite spikes and keep your dog’s tummy full for most of the day by feeding him small meals every four to six hours. A properly functioning metabolism helps your pet lose excess pounds in no time.
Walking is the most essential activity for dogs. Therefore, taking regular walks gives your dog enough opportunity to sniff while promoting mental stimulation. The general health of your dog determines how much walking he should do. Although most dogs need much more, your dog’s minimum walking time should be 20 minutes, twice a day. If your dog is overweight, try to increase the recommended daily exercise amount.
Take Regular Weights
You can track your furry friend’s weight using a pet scale, which is available in many pet stores. When you track your dog’s weight regularly, you will notice slight changes, even if they are hard to see - a few pounds of weight gain is quite difficult to detect. However, the few pounds add up over time.
Obese dogs find it difficult to move due to joint pains. Unfortunately, dogs don’t know how excess weight affects their overall well-being and quality of life. Therefore, as a dog parent, you have to help your furry friend attain his perfect weight. You can keep your dog’s quality of life at maximum if you help him reach a healthy weight.
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