Twenty-five to forty percent of dogs have been diagnosed with obesity, or will become obese in their lifetime. Obesity is the most common health problem for dogs in our society.
The primary causes of obesity are overeating and lack of exercise. Most dog owners don’t acknowledge that their pet is overweight, until their veterinarian points it out.
Diagnosing Your Dog with Obesity
If your dog is diagnosed as obese or overweight, your vet should recommend a weight loss plan for your dog.
Your vet will look at the changes in your dog’s weight over time, as well as any changes in her environment─ to try and determine the cause of the weight gain.
Your vet may also perform several medical tests on your dog to rule out any underlying diseases that may be responsible for the weight gain.
If everything checks out ok, you can begin a weight loss program with your pup.
Treating Your Dog For Obesity
All members of the family must be dedicated to helping your dog lose weight. You should assign one person to be in charge of feeding, so there is no overlap. Everyone should be in charge of exercise though!
You should have your dog seen by the vet every 4-6 weeks to monitor your dog’s weight loss progress. And once your dog gets down to his or her ideal body weight, you should continue feeding her a weight management dog food … this will help keep the weight off.
Recommendations for Obesity due to overeating:
1. Cut your pet’s food intake by 50%
2. Use a pet food geared at weight loss … it should contain the following:
• less than 340 kcal per 100 grams of food on a dry matter basis
• between 5 to 10 percent fat
• between 10 to 30 percent crude fiber
• greater than 25 percent crude protein
3. Increase Fiber Intake
4. Increase Water Consumption
5. Feed your pet small portions, several times a day
6. Use low calorie treats, and use sparingly.
7. Increase exercise activity
8. Take your dog swimming; swimming is great for dogs with orthopedic disabilities
Other causes of Obesity …
Obesity in pets is usually to do with over-eating; however, some other causes are diabetes mellitus and hyperadrenocorticism (cushing’s disease). If you suspect your dog has either of these conditions, he should be seen by a vet immediately.
Remember, Obesity is a serious health problem and should be addressed immediately; shedding a few pounds could save your Boston Terrier’s life!