As in humans, obesity is not good for dogs. In case of canines too, obesity may either denote an underlying medical condition, like hypothyroidism or may lead to health problems, like diabetes and cardiac diseases. So, if you are a dog owner, you must watch out for signs of obesity in your dog, so that you can take immediate measures for countering the same.
Symptoms of Canine Obesity
If you ask somebody about the signs of obesity in dogs, most probably, you will be facing a counter question, "Can there be any sign of obesity other than a plump, fat, body?" It is natural for people to think that way. But, beware, signs of obesity may not be that noticeable at the very onset. In most cases, obesity is diagnosed only when the dog is taken to the vet for some medical reason. So, you have to keep a watch on you pet dogs to identify the condition at the very beginning. The following are some tips for identifying dog obesity signs and symptoms.
- As mentioned above, the most common symptom is the increasing body size of the animal. In other words, the abnormal weight gain of the dog.
- Coming to weight gain, obesity can be simply defined as a body weight that is 30% more than the ideal body weight. Such ideal body weight may vary with the breed and age.
- Vets adopt different techniques to determine the rate of obesity in dogs. Such a diagnosis is done on the basis of weight charts as well as body scoring.
- If you want to detect dog obesity at the very onset itself, then, you must know the parameters for a dog with ideal body weight and over weight. If you look from the side of the dog, the animal (with ideal body weight) must have an abdominal tuck and a proper waist. The ribs can be felt with almost half an inch fat covering.
- In case of obese dogs, you may find it difficult to feel the ribs as the fat layers will be thick. Such overweight dogs will lack abdominal tuck as well as proper waist. In severely obese dogs, you may find a sagging abdomen, due to large fat deposits. Even the back of the animal will be much wider.
- In obese dogs, you may not be able to feel the bones near the base of the tail. This applies to the bones of the spine, shoulders and even hips. Make sure to take into consideration the anatomy of the particular dog breed, while looking for these parameters.
- Apart from the above said, overweight dogs will be less active and refrain from exercise and play. They may also avoid climbing stairs or jumping into cars. They will be lazy and tired and may also pant constantly.
Dog Obesity - Causes and Effects
So, as mentioned above, canine obesity can be caused by various reasons. Some of the common causes of obesity in dogs are overconsumption of food, especially fatty ones; lack of exercise, and certain medical conditions. It has also been noticed that some dog breeds are genetically predisposed to obesity and they include Beagles, Pugs, Dachshunds, English Bulldogs and Cocker Spaniels.
If not managed properly, dog obesity may lead to various medical problems like diabetes mellitus, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, bone and ligament injuries, respiratory problems, heart diseases, certain forms of cancer and liver diseases. So, you must take prompt steps to counter the condition and prevent further complications.
The above said is a brief overview about signs of obesity in dogs, its causes and effects. Treatment for this condition includes reduction in calorie intake, increasing exercise, treating the underlying medical condition, if any and increasing the fiber and water intake. You can prevent your dog from getting overweight by providing it with proper food that is rich in fiber. Another important factor is regular exercise. Above all, regular body assessments during your visit to the vet will also prove useful in preventing the condition.