Weight management for dogs is very healthy and important for their overall wellbeing. It helps them have the best quality of life and to get greater enjoyment out of play time with you and family. Maintaining a healthy weight also helps to prevent joint disease and makes mobility better with less discomfort.
Obesity is a common problem in dogs and, like humans, dogs need a regular exercise and a healthy diet. This is because overweight dogs are more prone to illnesses that can affect their organs and joints. Dog’s that are overweight also tend to have a shorter life expectancy.
Dogs that have unexpected weight-loss or having trouble gaining weight could have an underlying medical condition that could be dangerous to their health. Overall, it is important to know what your dog’s average weight is so you will notice any changes that could mean there is a problem. Let’s get into talking about the benefits of weight management for dogs in Minnesota.
How to Determine My Dog’s Weight
To know whether your dog is overweight or under, it’s best you know what exactly your dog’s ideal weight is. You could visit the veterinary and ask your vet about the difference between the weight and how to determine whether they are gaining or losing.
Checking your dog’s weight can also be done at home with a few simple tips that can get the job done. Follow these steps to check if there have been any changes in your dog’s weight:
- Locate your dogs and run your hands over them. If the ribs are prominent or the hipbone or the vertebrae are visible, it may mean they are underweight, but if you can’t feel them at all, it’s a sign that it has been covered by fat and they need to lose weight.
- When looking at your dog’s back from above, you should see a definite waist. If you see a straight line starting from the ribs area to the hips without an inward curve, then your dog is overweight.
- Look at your dog’s side. You’ll see a line of their stomach should be lifted upwards as it moves towards the back legs. If you can’t see the curve or is the line is straight, your dog is overweight and might need to change their routine.
What is Weight Gain in Dogs?
Obesity is the accumulation of body fat that is over and above what is required by the animal for optimal functioning. Dogs are known to be overweight once they are more than 30% above their ideal weight. Obesity has been a widespread and the rate of obese pets has proliferated. It is also something that many dog owners struggle with. More than half of all the dogs in the U.S are diagnosed with obesity. Being above their ideal weight causes risk to their arthritis and shortens their life expectancy. These risks include osteoarthritis, which is caused by the extra pressure on the joints, heart disease, urinary stones, kidney stone, and diabetes mellitus. Being heavy can also have a great impact on your dog, they might be depressed because they are unable to do things normally without being exhausted. If you aren’t sure what is causing your dog’s overweight, you can visit your veterinarian for answers.
What Causes My Dog to Be Overweight?
The main reason for the cause of obesity is similar to those for humans-the number of calories that are in their diet. Your dog might be eating a food product that has a lot of calories or the quality of the food might not be good, and if they don’t exercise to burn the calories, it would be stored as fat. Most bad quality dog foods are packed with fat and salt, which causes obesity, especially if your dog doesn’t like to do much and it might encourage the dog to eat more, but the nutritional value in the food isn’t healthy.
Some breeds might find it a bit difficult to exercise, especially older dogs. Older dogs aren’t usually active and mobile, and short-nose dog breeds like pugs have short breath, which means they are quick to get exhausted.
Chronic medical conditions can also be the reason for your dog’s unexpected weight gain and would need to be visit the vet for consultation. The conditions include hyperadrenocorticism, also known as Cushing’s disease and hypothyroidism.
Genetics can play a huge role in your dog’s tendency to gain weight. Some breeds are prone to get more weight than other breeds.
Breeds that are prone to be obese include:
- Shetland sheepdogs
- American cocker spaniels
- Cairn terriers
- Rough collies
- Basset hounds
- Norwegian elkhounds
- Labrador retrievers
- Golden retrievers
Dogs that have been castrated or spayed have a risk of being obese, because neutering affects the energy expenditure and metabolism.
Symptoms and Signs of Overweight in Dogs
There are many signs you may notice when your dog is overweight; they include:
- Refusal to play games or go for a walk
- Excess tiredness
- Excessive sleeping
- Needing help with climbing chairs or getting in or out of cars
- Owners unable to find their rib, waistline or spine.
- Getting tired quickly with activity
- Lack of grooming
- Difficulty breathing
Benefits of Managing Your Dog’s Weight
We always want the best for our pooch, for them to enjoy play and have a longer life expectancy. If you need more reasons why it’s healthy to help your dog to have a healthy weight, here are some of the following benefits:
- A lower risk of developing other medical conditions: Obesity causes several health issues, including heart disease, skin disease, breathing problems, intestinal issues, pancreatitis and endocrine problems. Keeping a dog at a healthy weight can help them have decreased risk of developing other health conditions.
- Longer life expectancy: Becoming overweight can shorten your dog’s lifespan. It’s important to give your dog a high quality, healthy diet to help them live to their full potential.
- Savings of money and time: Giving your dog treatment for medical conditions can be costly and time-consuming. The treatment process can be a lot, especially if your dog has developed a disease from their weight.
- Lower risk for arthritis: Losing weight or having an ideal weight can improve the joint health of your dog and reduces any pain that is associated with arthritis. If the dog is heavy this puts extra stress on the arthritic joints and can cause more pain and less movement. Body fat can also produce hormones that increase inflammation of the joint and pain.
Despite how old or young your dog is, it’s important to avoid obesity by asking your vet for tips on feeding a healthy diet. Dog owners should provide a suitable and balanced diet, daily exercise, avoid excessive treats, and monitor their pet’s weight regularly. It is also important to have regular vet visits so they can identify and concerns with your pet’s health.
If you have any questions regarding your dog’s health, contact your veterinarian.