Canine obesity is one of the fastest growing health problems in dogs today.
According to the Pet Obesity Prevention Association, Pet obesity increased in 2017 in the United States, affecting 60% of cats and 56% of dogs.
That’s roughly 50 million dogs and 56 million cats!
As with humans, overweight pets are at risk of a variety of health issues.
Losing and maintaining weight is key to preventing or helping to treat these health problems if they have already started.
Learn how to manage your dog’s weight, start a weight loss plan for your dog, and prevent weight gain.
Causes of canine obesity
There are many reasons that dog might be overweight.
The obvious culprits are improper diet and insufficient exercise.
A dog recovering from an illness or injury usually asked to remain stable, and this is at risk of gaining weight.
It’s also important to know that being overweight may be a symptom of some hormonal disorders, such as hypothyroidism or Cushing’s syndrome.
Finally, the genetic predisposition is a big factor.
Some dog breeds are more prone to obesity than others, such as English Bulldogs, Beagles, Dachshunds, Pugs, Dalmatians and Cocker Spaniels – to name a few.
The health risks of obesity in dogs
Dog obesity is dangerous because it can lead to many health problems.
It may also negatively affect an existing health problem.
The obesity may cause the following diseases:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Bone injuries (such as a torn cruciate ligament or pulmonary patella) in the spine
- Disturbances of the respiratory system
- Various forms of cancer
How to know if your dog is overweight
You can often see signs of obesity in a dog, but it sometimes sneaks up on you.
The gradual weight gain is not as noticeable as you see your dog daily.
Any friend or family member is not around. The dog may notice a change in weight.
Other warning signs are the practice of intolerance and apparent laziness.
These could show a weight problem or another health problem.
It is best to visit the vet looks amiss.
Also, make sure your dog goes to the vet for a wellness check every 6-12 months.
This is the vet’s best way to detect changes before there is a serious problem.
There are a few basic things you can do at home to assess your dog’s weight.
Call your doctor if you suspect a problem.
Running your hands along the dog’s rib cage, you should be able to touch the ribs that covered in a thin layer of fat.
Inability to feel the ribs is a sign of an overweight dog.
When looking at the dog from the side, you should be able to see the upward crease in the abdomen.
An overweight dog will have very little or nothing in it.
When looking at the dog from above, there should be a moderate tightness at the waist behind the rib cage.
A straight or bulging line from the rib cage to the hips shows an overweight dog.
How to manage your dog’s weight
If your dog needs to lose weight, or you just want to maintain a healthy weight, use it with your vet to develop a weight management program.
This program will mainly comprise a structured diet and exercise plan.
Your vet will help you set up goals and schedule appointments for quick checks to monitor your dog’s progress.
It will be helpful if you weigh your dog regularly.
Do this ideally every week or two.
If you do not have the correct scale at home, you can only stop by the vet’s office for this.
Many vet clinics have a wide hallway, so you can run and check the weight for free.
For most dogs, the traditional diet, and exercise plan does the trick.
However, some dogs may have difficulty losing weight for specific health reasons
Before starting a weight loss plan for your dog, be sure to see your veterinarian.
You may even discover that there is an underlying problem contributing to your dog’s obesity.
Obesity: Changes in a dog Weight-Loss Diet
A dog diet is not a matter of dog will. However, owners may need to use willpower to resist that begging.
Remember, food is not love.
As a reward for your dog, try offering personalized attention and toys.
Feed your dog a bunch of table scraps and “junk food”, and you might ask for weight gain.
Depending on the dog, your dog’s food and treats may also pack high in calories.
A veterinarian can help you choose the right food for your dog.
Sometimes, vets will prescribe a special diet that is not available “over the counter”.
However, there are also several diets that may work.
Even eating healthy and treating it will lead to weight gain if given a boost.
Allowing your dog to “free feed” by leaving a full plate all day is not a good idea, especially in a multi-dog household. Establish two or three groups of meals per day.
Use a measured scoop to give only the recommended amount of food.
Feeding instructions on quantity: generalized, and may not be suitable for your dog, so ask your veterinarian to help you determine the amount.
If your dog needs a reduction in food intake, you can try adding some canned, unsalted green beans to his food to make up for the difference.
Many dogs love them and will feel even more comfortable after a meal.
A significantly decreased dog should treat compare with has an overweight dog.
Foods should never make up over 10% of a dog’s diet, and this percentage should reduce for weight loss.
You will also need to change the type of treatment you are feeding.
No cheese, hot dog chunks or commercial fatty dog treats.
Shop for a dog treat low in calories.
Better yet, try small pieces of carrot and apple as a treat. Many dogs really love them.
Obesity: Exercise for dogs Weight Loss
Your dog will need more exercise to lose weight.
If you haven’t already walked your dog daily for a specified period, start now.
Schedule to play fetch or tug of war.
If you have an exercise schedule, increase the frequency and difficulty if possible.
This will be good for you too.
The most important thing is to stick to a plan and stick to it.
Your dog is at your mercy:
Most dogs just want to interact with their owners, especially in the form of exercise.
They also enjoy training in the form of games.
One great way to boost your dog’s weight loss plan is to participate in dog sport.
One option (for many) is a sport called agility.
When you and your dog take part in dog sport, you can work with experts who want your dog to succeed but will not push it.
Besides losing weight, your dog will have a new skill and a lot of mental stimulation.
Many dogs will be happy to get more exercise and attention, and will happily wait for their scheduled exercise sessions.
However, dogs who are overweight and out of shape may pose a challenge.
Some dogs will stop in the middle of the walk and refuse to continue:
This is probably because it depleted and / or ached.
To be safe, stay close to home and keep a slower pace.
These dogs benefit from several short walks a day rather than one or two trips.
Do not push your dog too hard or it could cause injury or exhaustion:
Some dogs cannot exercise as needed because of illness or injury caused or exacerbated by obesity.
Consult your veterinarian for recommendations.
You may find that physical therapy with a dog rehabilitation practitioner helps.
Be patient and consistent
Remember that canine weight loss can take a long time.
Most of all, try to stay positive.
You and your dog can do this!
If you suspect your pet is sick, contact your physician immediately.
For health-related questions, always consult your veterinarian, as they have examined your pet and know your pet’s health history, and can make the best recommendations for your pet.
Approximate ideal weight by some breeds:
Havanese Border Dog – 11 lbs.
Beagle, Staffordshire Bull Terrier – 30 lbs.
Collie, Samoyed – 55 lbs.
American Staffordshire Terrier, boxer – 66 lbs.
Irish Wolfhound, Anatolian Shepherd – 88 lbs.
Neopolitan Mastiff, Newfoundland – 122 lbs.
The good news
Although obesity is a big problem in dogs, the good news is we can treat obese dogs.
It should do slowly (the pet should not exceed 1 to 1/2 pounds per week) and with the supervision of a veterinarian.
It’s also an opportunity to spend more time getting attention and kisses on your dog to keep him from thinking about it around the litter around the corner.
Obesity: How to help your dog lose weight
The first method: Determining if your dog is overweight
1- Test how your dog looks:
As the body dogs differ from the same breed, the shape of your dog determines if he is overweight or not.
Checking how it looks from the top and the side will give you a good idea of its current condition.
- When you stand at the top of the dog and look straight down on its back, see its waist in front of its hind legs and a noticeable difference between the chest and abdomen.
- When you look at the dog from the side, you should be able to see the difference between the chest and abdomen size. Your dog should have an easily noticeable waist, and his stomach should be closer to the spine than to his chest.
- A wide, flat back and a flabby abdomen show that your dog is overweight
2- Do a “rib test” for your dog:
Another way to test your dog’s weight is the rib test. Place your hand on the side of the dog’s chest and try to feel its ribs. With a normal-weight dog, you should not be able to see its ribs, but you can feel them and count each one separately. If you can’t do this easily, it is a sign that your dog is overweight.
3- Weigh your dog:
An online weight guide can find the ideal weight based on your dog’s breed.
You should keep in mind that these are the averages for each breed, ultimately each dog must test separately.
– You can get an accurate weight at home, depending on your dog’s size.
If you want to weigh your dog at home, first weigh yourself, then carry your dog (if you can) and weigh yourself and your dog together.
Subtract your weight from both of your weight together to get the dog’s weight.
Use the same method each time to get results as accurate as possible.
– You can visit the veterinarian to get an accurate weight and get instructions to know the healthy weight for your dog.
The second method: Create a weight-loss plan
– Visit your veterinarian.
Once you find out that your dog is overweight or if you are still not sure, it is time to visit your veterinarian.
A vet can assess your dog’s weight, discuss causes, and give you an idea of how much weight the dog will need to lose or at least an initial goal.
– Create an eating plan with your veterinarian.
Your veterinarian can help you create a specific weight loss plan for your dog to be what you want it to be.
This plan includes changing your dog’s food with food intended for weight loss, instructions on giving him rewards, adjusting meal sizes and times, and increasing exercise.
– A veterinarian can also assess if there are any health reasons impeding the initiation of the plan.
– Consider giving him weight loss drugs in extreme cases.
There are now drugs specifically for dogs to help them lose weight.
These drugs suppress the appetite.
Be careful because these drugs cause side effects such as vomiting and diarrhea.
– You should to use them as a last resort for healthy dogs, and only after excluding medical reasons that could cause your dog’s overweight and inability to lose weight.
– The veterinarian can determine if the dog’s condition is acceptable to take drugs.
The third method: Follow a weight-loss plan
Feed your dog a diet designed to lose weight:
Your veterinarian can help you determine what to feed your dog.
This can do by reducing the amount of food present or changing it to a special weight loss regime.
There are diets available to help your dog lose weight along with his regular diet to help him maintain his weight once he reaches an ideal weight.
These meals contain fewer calories and higher amounts of fiber to help your dog feel full while eating fewer calories.
These diets are more expensive than regular foods and usually reserved for situations where you need to lose a lot of weight or when cutting back on regular food is not effective.
Measure the amount of your dog’s food at each meal:
This will allow you easily notice any changes in appetite that could show other problems.
This is most important if you are trying to lose weight for your dog.
You need to know exactly what and how much your dog is eating so you can measure the effectiveness of the diet and make necessary adjustments.
Isolate other dogs if you have
If you have other dogs in the house, you will need to isolate them during the lunch period. Make sure each dog gets their own food just by placing them all in separate rooms with their meals until the food runs out.
Keep the daily food program for your dog
Keep a daily log of how much your dog eats, including rewards, and how many exercises he gets.
You can use a measuring cup, but daily weighing of the portion is a more accurate way to ensure that you are feeding him the correct amount.
You can make a blueprint or download one online.
Make sure you also record the dog’s weekly weight.
Take it with you when you visit your veterinarian to better assess the results
Reduce or stop unhealthy rewards:
Most commercial dog product rewards are high in calories, like the candy people eat, while there are other low-calorie commercial products, you can eliminate the rewards by substituting them for healthy snacks.
Examples of healthy snacks safe for dogs include carrots, green beans, broccoli, celery, and apples.
Avoid foods that could cause allergies before adding anything new to his diet and be careful, some human foods can be toxic to dogs and you should to avoid.
When feeding your dog the rewards, don’t forget to include them in their total daily caloric intake. You may need to reduce your calorie intake from other sources to compensate.
As a general rule, rewards should not make up over 10% of your total daily diet.
You can also put some dog grounds in a bowl and use it as a treat throughout the day
Train your dog often:
Training improves the dog’s muscles, weight and metabolism.
A dog’s total weight is a simple math.
The number of calories consumed in the diet, minus the number of calories used during the day, will determine if he will lose weight or not.
You can improve your dog’s metabolism and general health by developing training routines.
This should be a major point to discuss with your veterinarian before starting regular exercises.
Some breeds may not able to do certain types of training.
You may need to be very careful encouraging your dog what to do, depending on your dog’s physical conditions and the environment in which the exercises are being performed.
Starting with walking a short distance and then accumulating the distance and / or walking speed, depending on what the dog allows, as a simple way to implement the exercise routine.
The exercises can accompany playing games such as fetch or you become active with them and with them playing for 20 minutes a day.
Make sure your dog gets mental stimulation:
Mental stimulation can be more important than physical exercise when trying to help your dog lose weight.
Most dogs eat a lot to get attention (they want to get the attention of their owner and their owner thinks they are hungry) or because they feel boring.
Try to care or play with your dog when he tries to get your attention instead of feeding him right away.
Use the feeders rather than placing the food bowl at the bottom:
It may solve your dog’s problem getting his meal, and it will make it difficult for him to eat more than he needs.
There are many commercial feeders available, but also consider simple strategies like splashing dog crunches in the grass or putting their food in a cardboard box.
Always research foods before giving them to your dog as treats. For example, grapes, raisins, chocolate, and onions can be toxic to dogs.
Exercising too much can be dangerous for your dog. Talk to your veterinarian about the exercise your dog should get.
Do not restrict your dog’s access to water.
Water should be clean and available unless your veterinarian suggests otherwise.