Dealing with dog obesity has become a problem over the years, especially in the USA. As the general population has gotten more obese, so have their dogs. The problem has not been solved despite many doggie weight loss campaigns by countless celebrity endorsers, official government programs, and others.
Unlike the old days, people of the current era are becoming less and less physically active, as technology makes more and more advances. This inactivity is the primary factor contributing to obesity. Manual work is replaced by automated work, and physical leisure time is replaced by television and internet. Even if we do eat low-fat foods, it still does not change the fact that we can eat too much sometimes, and the same thing goes for our dogs.
In spite of the impression you get from ads on TV, an “eager eater” is probably NOT what you want in a pet. Don’t force your little fur baby to eat, and control it if you have to. Remember this advice on the PetMD.com site:
Please do not try to entice your pet to eat if it isn’t interested. If you provide a good quality food and a liberal amount of water, your pet will eat when it wants and do better than having to eat when you want.
Just like people, dogs that are obese are more likely to have health problems, especially diseases related to the heart, liver, kidneys, lungs and joints. They are also more prone to injury, and can even experience osteoarthritis, diabetes mellitus, and respiratory problems if they do not get enough exercise and balanced meals.
Responsible owners are aware that giving a dog too many treats just to get their attention and follow commands can lead to obesity. They also know that physical activity and eating should be well-balanced, to ensure that their pet does not suffer from either obesity or malnutrition.
Pet owners can perform this test to tell if a dog is overweight. Check the layer of fat over its ribs. A healthy dog’s fat layer is quite thin and you can feel the ribs easily. In comparison, an overweight dog will have thick fat not just over the ribs, but even around the tail. Very obese dogs will have fat in other parts of their bodies as well. However, this depends on what breed you have, because not all breeds have equally-shaped ribs and some have more prominent ones.
Also note that in the opposite case, if your dog’s bones are more protruding and his muscles seem to have lost definition, then he may be too thin or malnourished.
If your dog is too thin or too fat for his age or size, you should have him checked and examined by a vet. He will perform some physical examinations and other tests to find out the cause of your dog’s condition, if he is underweight. On the other hand, if the dog is too fat, he may also give you an all-new diet as well as an exercise program that is fit for your overweight dog.
Here are some things that owners can do when dealing with dog obesity to get it under control:
- Never let him control what he eats. Sometimes dogs will keep begging for food, but don’t give in — they’ll learn quickly that it won’t do any good.
- Give him healthy snacks, especially ones that are less fat, such as frozen yogurt for dogs , fruits or veggies.
- Check the fat content of the food your give him.
- Some supplements can also cause obesity due to high calories. Cut back on some of these if not needed.
- Look for foods with fewer calories for your dog to enjoy.
Have you had to deal with an obese dog? Share your thoughts below.