OBESITY IN DOGS
Obesity is a nutritional disease whereby the body is grossly fat (excess body fat or adipose tissue) or overweight. Dogs which are over nourished, over fed, have limited exercise or have tendencies to retain body weight, are at higher risks of becoming obese . Obesity could lead to many complications such as diabetes, increased risk of cancer, difficulty breathing, hypothyroidism, cardiovascular diseases and or osteoarthritis, which at most times will reduce life expectancy.
CAUSES OF OBESITY
- Imbalance between the energy intake and its usage, typically seen when dogs are overfed
- Limited exercise
- Old age; reduced ability of off excess energy or fat
- Feeding too many table scraps
- Not knowing how much to feed your dog
- Unhealthy feeding habits such as feeding high-calorie food or excessive amounts of treats
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF A OBESITY
- Excess body fat
- No or little visible waistline
- Lack of mobility
- Difficulty breathing
- Inability (or willingness) to exercise
Obesity is typically determined by measuring a dog’s current body weight and comparing it to the average body weight for a dog of same breed and age. A physical examination of the dog would also aid in identifying if it is excessively overweight. Body condition scoring is one other way to gauge if a dog is obese. You can do this on your own by using a body condition score chart. You can refer to our body condition chart for dogs .
Your veterinarian may change your dog’s diet by reducing how much it is fed and or modifying the quality of food that is fed to your dog. He or she may also recommend that your dog have more exercise throughout the day.
TIPS FOR MANAGING YOUR DOG’S WEIGHT
It is always important to read the feeding guidelines from dog food manufacturers and to follow them as instructed. Examine your dog at least once a month to gauge whether they are putting on excessive weight. Make corrections to your feeding regime as you see fit.
Avoid feeding scraps from table leftovers. Do not leave food lying around the house where your dog can reach them .
Diets rich in protein and fibre but low in fats and oils are typically used for weight loss. This helps the obese dog to feel fuller faster yet still provide energy. Treats with low calories such as carrots or dried hides are an excellent alternative to aid in weight loss.
Divide your dog’s daily meal into several meals and try not to feed them at late hours of the night . This is because dogs won’t burn much calories when they are asleep and will most likely store them as fat.
Take your dog on walks so that it can lose the excess weight while keeping healthy. Dogs will become more energetic, happier and less sluggish as they begin to gradually lose the excess fat.
Obesity can become life threatening to your dog if it is left unchecked. It can also lead to more debilitating diseases which can shorten your dog’s lifespan. Careful monitoring of your dog’s weight among other things can help keep your dog healthy and in good shape
 Petmd, “Obesity in Dogs,” [Online]. Available: https://www.petmd.com/dog/conditions/digestive/c_multi_Obesity. [Accessed 27 January 2019].
 Wag!, “Obesity in Dogs,” [Online]. Available: https://wagwalking.com/condition/obesity. [Accessed 26 January 2019].
 W. G. N. Committee, “Body Condition Score,” [Online]. Available: https://www.wsava.org/WSAVA/media/Arpita-and…/Body-Condition-Score-Dog.pdf. [Accessed 03 January 2019].
 T. K. Club, “Dog Obesity,” 2019. [Online]. Available: https://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/health/for-owners/dog-obesity/. [Accessed 04 March 2019].
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