As a loving dog owner, it’s hard not to spoil that sweet Boston of yours. However, it’s important to not let those extra treats lead to too many extra pounds for your pup. Unfortunately, canine obesity is all too common and contributes to numerous health risks for all breeds including heart disease, diabetes and arthritis. Prevention is your best bet when it comes to avoiding the health complications associated with obesity, but steps can be taken to achieve a healthy weight of your pooch does pack on some extra pounds.
Causes of Obesity in Dogs:
Just like people, dogs become overweight or obese when their energy intake exceeds their energy expenditure. The excess energy, or calories, is stored as fat. Sometimes, a medical condition may be to blame for your dog’s weight problem. Consult your veterinarian if your dog eats well, is physically active, and is still gaining weight. The underlying cause of your dog’s obesity might be hypothyroidism, insulinoma, hyperadrenocorticism, or another condition. Treating these diseases with the correct pet medications as prescribed by your veterinarian may help your dog get back to a healthy weight.
Treating Obesity in Dogs:
If you have concerns about your dog’s weight, visit your veterinarian for a full physical examination and weight assessment. Your veterinarian can determine whether your dog is overweight by feeling for his ribs and backbone. In overweight dogs, there is no noticeable waist and a layer fat covers the backbone and ribs.
If your dog is overweight or obese, your veterinarian will work with you to develop a diet and exercise plan to improve your pet’s health. Dietary changes may involve increasing the amount of fiber in your dog’s diet, cutting portion sizes, and eliminating treats. If your dog suffers from diabetes or another health condition, more intensive dietary modifications may be necessary.
Regular exercise is essential to burn calories and reduce appetite. If your dog hasn’t been active for a while, a gradual increase in activity is important to prevent injury. Arthritic dogs may need assistance in becoming more active.
In addition to exercise and dietary changes, any successful weight management program for dogs involves changes in your behavior, too. Your dog did not become obese without your help, and you will need to modify your behavior to ensure your pet’s weight loss efforts are successful. Begin by removing your pet from the dining room when your family eats dinner, and resist the urge to offer frequent snacks and treats to your dog. Reward your dog’s good behavior with non-food related attention, such as playing or petting. Most importantly, keep your dog’s veterinary appointments and work closely with your vet to ensure continued health and happiness for your canine companion!
A Guest Post by VetDepot.