We all love our dogs. In fact, we love them so much that we usually feel the need to reward their good behaviors or their obedience with treats. Dogs love treats so much and they will show you a lot of love and display their excitement and you will want to hand treats to them every time because you love t and want to see it being happy.
But have you considered the effects the treats might have on your dog? They might end up picking up a few extra unnecessary pounds which might pose various health risks to them. No one wants an obese dog, not just because it is overweight but because obesity is bad news for any dog as it is for humans. Dog obesity comes with several diseases including liver disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and increased risk of cancer for the dog.
Signs of dog obesity
At first, your dog was this healthy and highly active animal. The demeanor of the dog was one to impress everyone who looked at it, and maybe at times even fear because it looked so strong and healthy. Now you begin to notice a change in the dog. Suddenly you have started noticing a gradual increase in weight.
The increase in weight has now started making the dog’s waistline a little less visible. Suddenly, when you are playing with your dog, you notice that you can no longer feel the once palpable rib cage. You notice that the abdomen has now increased in size. The dog is less mobile and also less playful because it now gets easily exhausted. If you notice this signs in your dog, then know you are dealing with an obesity problem with your dog.
How to check if the dog is obese
You can confirm if your dog is obese by yourself by doing these simple checks;
Check if you can feel the rib cage when petting your dog gently. For a dog with an ideal weight, the ribs can be felt when doing this but for an overweight dog, it is not possible t feel the ribs when petting gently. Confirm the size of the upper body and the size of the waist. If you cannot see a difference between the two while viewing from above your dog, then the dog is obese.
Causes of dog obesity
There a number of factors that contribute to pet obesity.
Dog obesity is mostly caused by overfeeding and lack of enough exercise for the pet. Look at how you feed your dog. Overfeeding in dogs is giving them more food than it spends. Also, look at the dietary conditions you subject your dog to. Are you feeding it high-fat foods, how frequently do you feed it and how do you variate the diet? Also, does your dog get the exercise it deserves?
Age in dogs can be a cause of dog obesity. The older the dog gets the less active it continues to be
and when the dog is less active, it means that it will not burn as many calories as it needs to burn and the end result will be excess body weight.
There are breeds that are prone to obesity. Some of them include breeds like the terriers, spaniels including others.
Dogs are also prone to obesity if they have been neutered or spayed. The decrease in the sex hormones means that the dog uses less energy and at times causes changes in the appetite of the dog. The dog will increase intake of food due to increased hunger and it may lead to obesity in the dog. Some medications given to dogs lead to increased appetite and also leads to overeating.
Dogs become obese due to some diseases. Hypothyroidism, Insulinoma, and Hyperadrenocorticism can be contributing factors in the obesity of the dogs.
Treatment of dog obesity
The treatment of obesity in dogs is done in two phases. The first phase is where you first help the dog to lose the excess weight. After you are successful, you then go on to ensure that the dog has maintained its ideal weight for the rest of their life.
Change the diet of the dog. Make sure you stop giving the dog treats and in their place now incorporate vegetables and green beans. Feed the dog low-fat foods and increase the protein and fibre in the diet. Proteins facilitate the weight loss process while fiber is important for metabolism. Check your local store for dog feeds that are rich in the nutrients mentioned above. Also, f your dog is a fast eater, you may take steps to ensure that this ceases to become a problem. Find a bowl that makes it difficult for it to reach the food.
However, it is important for you to note that you cannot just change the dog’s diet at once. The process takes time and you will be forced to incorporate the new food you want to feed the dog gradually. You mix the new foods with the old foods for a period of one week or so and thereafter change the diet altogether. Changing it once may cause an upset to the gastrointestinal tract.
Incorporate exercise as a daily routine for the dog. Exercise is as important as the diet. Exercise helps the dog use up the energy it has gotten from the food and it goes a long way in helping the dog maintain a healthy body and a healthy life. You can take it for an afternoon walk, treadmill training or swimming can be very good exercises for the dog. You can also buy a play toy for the dog and use it to exercise the dog during the day.
Prevention of pet obesity
You do not have to wait until pet obesity becomes a problem for your dog for you to treat it.
In order for you to ensure your dog maintains a healthy life, ensure that the diet is right from the start. Avoid high-fat foods and frequent unhealthy treats. Ensure that your dog gets frequent exercises. Do not be afraid to change the diet of the dog if you notice that it is starting to affect its weight.