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Preventive Measures for Dog Obesity

Preventive Measures for Dog Obesity

Obesity in dogs is as much of a concern as it is in humans, and there are many risks associated with it. This article will tell you how to prevent obesity in dogs, so that the health risks reduce.
DogAppy Staff
Dogs are the best companion pets for humans. Also, statistics show, that almost 25% to 42% of all pet dogs are overweight. Obesity is a package, and if your dog is obese, then he is bound to be susceptible to certain health problems. To keep your dog as healthy as possible, it is always better to prevent him from being overweight. The health risks associated with obesity are given below. These are serious risks that cannot be dismissed. So, a better option is to adopt some preventive measures beforehand and help your pet maintains his weight and health, instead of having to treat him later on. We'll discuss the preventive measures for dog obesity in detail in the following paragraphs.

If you have a pet dog, then one of the topmost priorities on your mind should be dog obesity prevention. Dog obesity causes lethargy, which in turn leads to more obesity. It is a vicious circle. The following are some causes of obesity in dogs:
  • Overfeeding your dog at mealtimes.
  • Giving plenty of treats between mealtimes.
  • Giving him sweet treats which are unhealthy.
  • Underlying medical conditions in your dog, like hyperthyroidism, pituitary gland imbalance, etc.
If preventive measures are not undertaken in time, then your pet can be prone to the following risks due to obesity:
  • Lethargy and less stamina
  • Compromised immune system
  • High blood pressure
  • Increased susceptibility to heart and liver diseases
  • Digestion problems
  • Increased risk of diabetes, cancer, and other diseases
  • Weakness in joints leading to arthritis
  • Respiratory infections and excretory problems
How do I Know Whether my Dog is Overweight?

A dog is said to be overweight when he weighs more than his standard, healthy weight, by 20% of his normal weight. This is easy to check when you have small breeds as pets. But putting a dog on the weighing scale is not the easiest thing to do, specially if you have a pet of a larger breed. In such cases, what you can do is check for the following indications:
  • Run your hands over your dog's back and see if you can feel his ribs. If you cannot, your dog is overweight. If there is a layer of fat over the ribs, but you can still feel them, then he is not overweight.
  • There is a dip in the waist of dogs, right behind the rib cage. This is visible from the top. If you can see an indentation/ dip, then your dog is not overweight, but if you can't then he is.
  • If your dog is looking a little plump, is getting tired too soon while exercising, and if he refuses to run and move around much, it can be a telltale sign that he's overweight.
  • Also, if he looks like he's lumbering around instead of maintaining a proper gait, then that is another sign that he is overweight.
Tips to Prevent Obesity in Dogs

If you are not very clear about how to prevent dog obesity, then given below is a list of preventive measures for obesity in dogs. Follow the simple points given below, to make sure that your dog maintains a healthy weight.

Diet
Your dog's diet makes all the difference between healthy weight and overweight. Give him fixed portions of food twice, or at the most, thrice a day. Confirm that you are giving him good quality dog food. The best food for obese dogs would be that which contains more proteins and fibers, and less carbohydrates and fats. Give him fixed and adequate portions everyday, and avoid pampering him by giving him extra large helpings.

Treats
The treats you give your beloved pet should not constitute more than 10% of his diet. Avoid giving him table scraps as I've mentioned in my previous article, else you will have to deal with dog flatulence along with obesity. If you have got him habituated to some snacks or treats between mealtimes, then try to keep these treats as healthy and fat free as possible.

Exercise
Larger breeds require more exercise as compared to smaller ones, but if your dog is overweight, you may want to give him more exercise than you normally do. Try a dog sport with your pet, if you have the time to spare. It will give you more time with him, and give him an added skill. Give him exercise at least twice a day, if he is of a large breed. Encourage him to be active and push the lethargy out of his body.

Regular Checkups
Sometimes, there can be medical causes for your dog's weight gain, and it may not necessarily be due to overeating. Getting your dog checked regularly by a vet, say every 6 - 8 months, will help the vet to keep track of his health, and also know early on whether he is showing any symptoms of diseases that can cause weight gain. Regular checkups for dogs are as important as regular checkups for us.

Lifestyle
Does your dog have a sedentary lifestyle? If that is the case, then he really cannot be blamed for putting on weight. One of the most important tips for dog obesity prevention, is to ensure that your pet hasn't started lazing around all day, and that he has an active and healthy lifestyle. If you think he is playing less and less everyday while eating the same amount of food, then you can expect him to pile up the pounds. Do not encourage a sedentary lifestyle in your dog. Make him run around, chase things, teach him tricks, and keep him on his toes.

Weight Loss Programs
If you are not satisfied with either reducing his food portions, or increasing his exercise, then you can get together with the vet, and combine the two to create a good weight loss program for your dog. But remember to keep in mind, that it is you who is going to have to make sure that your dog follows the program. You cannot stick up the exercise timings and ask your dog to follow them, or even put up a list of banned foods and tell him not to eat them! He will eat what you give, so it's up to you to make this weight loss program work.

A happy, healthy dog is a delight to be with, while dogs who are overweight may tend to get lazy, and low. Their spirit gets buried under the layers of fat, and they don't seem themselves anymore, don't enjoy the things they did before. It is in your hands entirely to get your dog back in shape, to being as vivacious as he was before.