Obesity in Dogs
Some of us shower our pets with love in the form of treats. Sometimes we just can’t resist those big, sweet eyes looking up at us longingly for a piece of our food. Unfortunately, many people do not understand that being overweight can lead to several other health complications such as metabolic abnormalities, cardiovascular disease, and joint and mobility issues. According to the 2018 Pet Obesity Survey conducted by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 55.8% of dogs are considered overweight or obese.
Caring for Your Dog
As the caregivers of these animals, it is up to us to help them maintain a healthy weight. The best way to do this is to consult with your veterinarian to establish a quality diet and the appropriate amount of food your pet needs each day to stay healthy. Another helpful trick is to feed your dog portioned out meals at specific times each day as opposed to free feeding. Treats are still okay if they are dog safe and you remember to account for that in your dog’s daily caloric intake as well. Dogs process things differently than we do, so that little 1 oz. cube of cheese you gave Fido is the equivalent of a human eating one and a half burgers! Some good low-cal treat options are dog safe fruits and veggies like carrots or apples. Some dogs goes so crazy for carrots, you would think it’s the most delicious thing in the world.
Keep Them Active
The next thing we can do to help prevent obesity is to keep your dogs active. Small dogs are more likely to be overweight, so remember, even little dogs need regular exercise. Try to take your dog out for a 30 minute walk each day. This will not only benefit their weight and joint health, but it will also give them a lot of mental and sensory stimulation as they get to explore the world around them. This is beneficial to their overall health as well. It’s also a great way to bond with your dog and it helps keep you healthy as well. It’s really a win-win situation.
“Now as an adult, working in the veterinary industry has made me hyper aware of the complications dogs face when they are overweight or obese and as a result, I have swung the opposite way and I rarely give my dogs treats. Instead, I shower them love in other ways such as playing together, lots of toys, and giving them lots of cuddles and affection. This doesn’t mean they don’t still beg, but I have grown strong enough to resist their cute faces remembering that it is best for them to live long healthy lives than to get that piece of whatever I’m eating.” — Rebecca, our NHS Clinic Manager
If you have further questions or concerns about your pets’ weight, please consult with your veterinarian.
This post was authored by our amazing Clinic Manager, Rebecca Goff.