Why Dog Obesity is Not Something to Ignore
Obesity in pets is just as concerning as obesity in people. You should take obesity in your pet seriously for a whole variety of reasons. Many people incorrectly believe that fat pets are happy pets because they are getting lots of food every day and lots of treats.
If you think that your dog might be obese, you can easily take them to get weighed at the vet and confirm that this is the case. There are height and weight charts that are used to determine if your dog is the right weight for its breed and size. Small, medium, and large dogs will all have their own ideal weight charts.
What is Obesity in Dogs?
Obesity in dogs is determined using an ideal weight chart for your dog’s relative size. Your dog is considered obese if they are 30% over the ideal weight for their height and size grouping. There are usually number ratings that are related to these body conditions and your vet will tell you which number your dog’s weight corresponds with on the chart.
Obesity is a serious problem that impacts many dogs in the U.S., and this is usually the result of giving dogs too much food as well as too many treats. Human foods can also be the reason for dog obesity and giving animals table scraps can lead to this condition in a hurry.
Reasons to be Worried About Obesity in Your Dog
There are many reasons that you should be worried if your veterinarian has confirmed that your dog is obese. You will want to remember that the following health challenges are directly connected with obesity in dogs next time you think about giving your dog a treat or some people food.
Shortened Life Span
Dogs who are obese will have shorter lifespans than dogs who are not obese. The number of years that your dog’s life can be shortened by will vary depending on their relative size as small dogs are less likely to be impacted negatively than big dogs. Shortening your dog’s lifespan is always the most serious possible negative outcome and should be avoided at all costs.
Increased Risk of Cancer
Cancer in dogs is almost always linked to obesity at least in part. Overweight dogs are more prone to all kinds of other health concerns as well, but cancer is the most serious of these diseases. Cancer is not readily treated in dogs and most dogs that are diagnosed with cancer are unlikely to live the full expected life span for their breed.
Obesity breaks down your dog’s joints quickly, partially due to the burden of carrying around extra weight and because the weight on the joints breaks down the cushioning and cartilage inside the joints. The cycle of arthritis is hard to break once it has begun since the lack of cushion inside the joints leads to further arthritic changes. Even if you get your dog’s weight under control, the degeneration of the joints can be irreversible.
Many obese dogs are prone to urinary stones that are very painful and can cause a bladder rupture if they are large enough. This is a life-threatening condition in many cases, and you should make sure that your dog is not exposed to the risk of getting these stones. This is particularly important in male dogs who are more prone to long-term issues and damage related to stones in the bladder.
Diabetes is not just a human condition and dogs can get diabetes from being obese just like people. Keeping your dog’s weight under control is important if you want to be sure that they will be able to process sugars correctly. Diabetes can cause damage to other organs and can also create skin issues that are hard to control.
How to Track Your Dog’s Weight at Home
It can be hard to weigh your dog at home since pet scales are not cheap. There are some other tests that you can do at home to track your dog’s weight so that you can make sure that they are staying on track.
With this test, you will stand behind your dog and run your hands over their ribs. You should be able to feel each rib with ease if your dog is the right weight.
In this test, you will look at your dog from the side and see if its abdomen is saggy. You should also be able to see the indent in their hips and a widening of the chest when compared to the hips.
These tests can help you to assess the weight of your dog and you can take pictures of your dog weekly to be able to objectively see the progression of your dog’s weight loss. These checks can help more than you would think while you are trying to track your dog’s weight.
Caring for Your Dog Involves Managing Their Weight
Your dog’s weight is directly connected with their health. Making sure that your dog is the right weight is key to making sure that it will not suffer from a shortened lifespan and other health conditions. Many people inadvertently feed their pets too much food daily and this can lead to long-term problems that could have been avoided.
While your dog might think that they are hungry all the time, you need to be sure that you stay strong and don’t give in to their demands for food. Making sure that your dog eats the right amount of food each meal and does not get fed human food can help them to maintain a healthy weight and remain comfortable and active for all the years of their life. A fit dog is a happy dog at any age.
Looking for more information? Listen to this Tails from the City podcast where Dr. Brian Bourquin talks about pet nutrition!