Obese dogs: beware of danger!

Obesity in dogs is an increasingly common health problem. Some studies suggest that 40% of western pets are overweight. A trend that is becoming more and more pronounced as time goes by. As for us, obesity in dogs has a negative impact on health and life expectancy. We will explain the causes of obesity and how to help your dog lose weight.


How do I know if my dog is obese?

Obesity in dogs is a disease. We speak of obesity as soon as the animal is 15% over its ideal weight. A dog that should weigh 20 kg will be considered obese as soon as it reaches 23 kg. It is relatively easy to know if your dog is overweight or not, without having to weigh him. To do this, you need to carefully observe his build. When you look at your dog from above, its size should be visible. Of course, it will be more or less marked depending on the breed of your dog. 

Next, feel your canine companion's sides. You should be able to feel and count his ribs without having to press. A slight layer of fat is also noticeable. If you can't feel your dog's ribs, it means he is overweight. If this is the case, it is also possible that your dog has small bulges at the base of the tail or between the thighs. If, on the other hand, you can feel your dog's bones very easily, he may be underweight, which is also a problem.

Obese dogs are usually greedy, have difficulty running and get little exercise. They tend to get out of breath quickly and are less able to tolerate heat.

Why are some dogs obese?

More and more dogs are becoming obese because of their lifestyle. We can distinguish between dietary and non-food causes of obesity.

First of all, we tend to give our pets too much food. Many dogs take advantage of table scraps and receive several treats each day. This is not a good thing. The leftovers from our meals are not suitable for our furry friends, and the treats are often too fatty or given in too large quantities. But obesity in dogs is not just about food. Nowadays, dogs often stay at home all day. They don't get much exercise because their owners also tend to do little exercise, which promotes weight gain. Spaying or neutering can also trigger excess weight in dogs, as can aging, which decreases the animal's activity level.  Taking certain medications such as corticosteroids can also lead to an increase in appetite and thus promote overweight.

Finally, it is important to know that some breeds of dogs are genetically predisposed to weight gain, such as the Labrador Retriever.

Serious health consequences

Obesity in dogs is a real health problem. Overweight animals have an average life expectancy of 2 years less. Excess weight can lead to the appearance or aggravation of joint disordersObesity can also promote the development of cardiovascular or respiratory diseases. Obese dogs are more likely to suffer from digestive problems such as constipation or flatulence, especially if the animal gobbles its meals.Obesity is associated with an increased risk of diabetes mellitus, a disease requiring lifelong care. Finally, the immune system is weakened, making the dog more susceptible to infection and tumor development. It's important to take action if your pet is overweight and consult your veterinarian.

How to help an overweight dog?

If your dog is obese, the goal is to make him lose weight gradually. We advise you to ask your veterinarian for help in this process.You'll have to put your dog on a diet and resist if he makes eyes at you. His health depends on it! First of all, you'll have to monitor his food intake. You'll have to reduce his daily intake little by little. If necessary, you can supplement with cooked vegetables to promote satiety.

Opting for low-fat foods can also help you avoid reducing the amount of food your pet eats.You can also divide the daily ration of kibble into several small meals if your little friend tends to ask for more during the day.You should avoid treats! 

Moreover, if your dog tends to devour his bowl in a few seconds, you can opt for a non-slurping bowl or place a large stone in it to make the meal last longer. You'll also want to make sure your pooch gets more physical activity. But be careful, don't take him running if he's not used to it. Take it easy! Extend the length of your dog's walks, offer more games and outings. If possible, have him swim, it's easier on his joints. If you keep a close eye on your dog's diet, he should return to his ideal weight in a few weeks.

In conclusion, obesity in dogs is an important health problem that decreases life expectancy by increasing the risk of disease. The ideal is to act in prevention to avoid overweight. It is therefore essential to watch the amount of food you give your pet, and to give him physical exercise! Finally, do not put your dog on a diet without consulting your veterinarian. 

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