Dogs can suffer from the same things as their owners, this great guest post will help you if your dog loves their food a little too much!
A Guest Post by VetDepot
As a loving and responsible dog owner, it’s hard not to spoil that sweet pup of yours. However, it’s important to not let those extra treats and table scraps lead to too many extra pounds. Unfortunately, canine obesity is all too common and contributes to numerous health risks 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 if your pooch does manage to pack on a few extra pounds.
Causes of Canine Obesity:
Just like people, dogs become overweight 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 gain. Consult your veterinarian if your dog eats well, is physically active, and is still putting on 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 an ideal weight.
Treating Canine Obesity:
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 backbone and ribs. In overweight dogs, the waist is not defined 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 down on portion sizes, and eliminating or reducing 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. If your dog isn’t used to too much exercise, a gradual increase in activity is important to prevent injury. Dogs with arthritis may need some assistance in becoming more active.
In addition to changes in diet and activity level, any successful weight management program for dogs involves changes in the owner’s behavior too. Your dog did not become obese on his own, and you will need to modify your own 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. Acknowledge your dog’s good behavior with non-edible rewards, such as playing or petting. It’s also important to keep all of your dog's veterinary appointments and work closely with your vet to ensure weight loss success for your canine companion!