Chubby dogs are adorable, but did you know those extra pounds could make your pet sick or even shorten his or her life? Canine obesity is a serious and growing problem among the veterinary community, and something that must be addressed. Below, a concerned Woodland veterinarian discusses the dangers of obesity in dogs and ways that you can help your pet enjoy a more fit, healthy life.
How do I know if my dog is “obese”?
The first step is determining whether your dog falls into the category of obese. Obviously, your Woodland veterinarian will be able to tell this by monitoring your pet’s weight. At home, however, you should be able to gauge whether your dog is at a healthy weight by feeling your pet’s back and chest. A good rule of thumb is that you should be able to feel the rib cage, the spine and the muscles along your dog’s frame. If you can’t, your dog may be carrying too much weight.
Dangers of Canine Obesity
Similar to obesity in humans, this condition can affect your dog in any of the following ways:
- High blood pressure
- Respiratory and/or heart disease
- Arthritis and joint problems
- Kidney disease
- Shortened lifespan
Exercise – To prevent your pet from becoming obese and suffering all of the dangerous side effects, keep your pet fit. Regardless of your dog’s age, exercise should always play an important role in your day to day routine. Your Woodland veterinarian can advise on what specific activities would be best suited for your pet.
Diet – What your pet eats can affect his or her weight, as can the amount of food and how frequently it’s being served. Talk to your Woodland veterinarian to determine whether a change should be made, either to the type of food, or manner of feeding.
Cut the Treats – There are plenty of ways you can reward your dog other than calorie-heavy treats. Try some extra attention or a new toy. Or, switch to a treat that is specifically formulated to support a healthy weight and give them sparingly.
Work With Your Vet – Because your dog cannot speak or make decisions for himself, it is the job of his owner, in conjunction with a trusted vet, to advocate for him. Remember – you’re not alone in this! Work with your Woodland veterinarian as closely and as often as you need to to help your pet maintain a healthy weight. Together you will help your dog fight obesity and enjoy a long, happy and healthy life.