Yes, that chubby tummy might make your dog look cute, but the fact is that those few extra pounds your pooch is carrying around are severely dangerous to its health. Research from PetMD has shown that overweight dogs are at a higher risk for a host of health problems, like cancer, osteoporosis, and bladder stones. In many cases, obesity can even shorten your dog’s overall lifespan.
You may think your dog is doing fine, but obesity is a danger to all dogs, especially middle-aged ones that spend a lot of time indoors. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, around 54% of dogs in the United States are considered obese or overweight so it can be easy for people to not notice the symptoms of obesity until it’s too late.
The most common cause of obesity in dogs is an imbalance between its caloric intake and energy output, meaning that your dog is eating way more calories than it can use. The best food for your dog is high in protein and dietary fiber and low in grain and other filler ingredients. Brands like Fromm (sold at our Home for Good store!) offer tasty and nutritious choices for your pooch. Check the back of the packaging on food on how much to feed your dog.
Also, remember to not spoil your dog with treats. Treats should be given sparingly and mainly used for training purposes. If you must give your dog a treat, consider low-calorie options like raw carrots or unsalted, unbuttered popcorn.
Of course, diet and exercise isn’t the only factor in your dog’s weight. Other causes of obesity in dogs include: hypothyroidism (low hormone production from the thyroid gland), insulinoma (a tumor on the pancreas that produces too much insulin), and Cushing’s Disease (overproduction of glucocorticoid from the adrenal gland). Consult your veterinarian immediately if you think your dog could be suffering from any of these conditions.
For a quick and informal test you can do at home, check to see if you can easily feel your dog’s rib cage with your hand. Also, your dog will ideally have a slight hourglass figure around it’s waist. Of course, these tests cannot officially diagnose your dog and you should make an appointment with your veterinarian to be sure. Your veterinarian should be your go-to resource for help and information. He or she will be able to properly diagnose your pet and help construct a diet and exercise regimen for it to follow.
Please remember that your dog can’t count calories or open the pantry so its diet is YOUR responsibility.