Many dogs will have to deal with health and physical limitations in their lifetime. Some develop as your dog ages and some are genetically passed on. Obesity is one health condition that can affect all dogs just as it does in humans. Obesity has a negative effect on the health of your dog and can put undo stress on bones, joints and tendons. Let’s take a look at some of the things that cause our dogs to be overweight.
One factor that causes obesity in dogs is genetics. Although rare in dogs, just like in humans, they can be prone to a slower metabolism. Another, and the biggest cause of Canine obesity is overeating and lack of exercise.
Many dogs are overweight for a number of reasons.
- Feeding too much
- Too many treats
- Not enough exercise or any combination of these.
Weight gain in dogs happens the same way it does in humans. Both the quality of the food and calories burned versus calories eaten are major factors in canine obesity. If your dog isn’t eating a quality food and is not getting enough exercise to burn off the calories he takes in every day, he will gain weight.
Many people don’t think about the fact that four or five extra pounds on a dog that ways 20 – 30 pounds could be as much as a 100 pound person being overweight by 25 pounds. If your dog is obese or just a few pounds overweight, take him to your vet to make sure there are no underlying medical reasons for the weight gain. Your vet can suggest a course of action to suit your dog.
If your dog is not already on a high quality diet that is wheat, corn and soy free, talk to your trainer or a holistic vet to get some suggestions. High quality foods may cost more, but are much better for your dog in the long run and they don’t have a lot of the fillers that cheaper brands contain. Just like human foods, these fillers contain a lot of unnecessary calories.
As mentioned above, most dogs don’t get enough exercise. If you are already taking your dog for walks you may want to increase the distance. Playing fetch with a Flying Disk or ball are great ways to exercise your dog. I suggest putting an exercise plan or schedule in place. Without one, it is easy to become complacent. Exercising your dog will also have benefits for you. You will feel better and be healthier.
Remember, if you keep your dogs weight under control, it is possible to prevent him from having to deal with health problems such as liver disease and diabetes. It will also help him lessen the impact of any joint problems he may have as he ages. By keeping him healthy today, it will make for a higher quality life tomorrow.