What is meant by obesity in Dogs?
Obesity in dogs is caused when there is an accumulation of excess body fat. With extra body fat comes extra body weight. It causes an adverse effect in their overall quality of life. Overweight Dogs or obesity in dogs is a growing problem even for the most active and attentive pet parents. Obesity in dogs is itself a very big concern in today’s time and it gives rise to other health related problems. Just as excess weight can have serious effects on human health, the same applies in case of a dog. While we go to great extents in order to keep ourselves fit by eating well and exercising, the same physical activities are required for dogs in order to keep them healthy and active.
What are the causes of obesity in Dogs?
Environmental Factors – Environmental Factors such as overfeeding or feeding more than the pet requires is one of the factors leading to obesity in dogs. Feeding the dog high fat foods, the frequency of meals, variation in diet plans further contributes in making the dog obese.
Physiological factors – These include age and genetic predisposition. Generally dogs over five years of age are less likely to indulge in physical activities. Certain breeds of dogs like Labrador, Rottweiler, Beagle are genetically prone to get obese.
Diseases – Certain diseases like Hypothyroidism, Insulinoma and likewise can result in obesity amongst dogs. It is therefore required to visit the vet on a regular basis, to keep a tab on the dog’s health.
What are the symptoms of obesity in Dogs?
Lack of Physical Activities – Dogs in general love to go out and indulge in physical activities. An overweight dog would prefer the coziness of the couch and spend a lot of time sleeping than playing outdoors. This weight issue keeps him from being active and avoiding exercising. Carrying too much weight becomes exhausting for the dog. A general sense of apathy can be a valid indication that the dog is overweight.
Lack of Stamina – If the hours of playing time has decreased to a great extent, then it is required to check for the dog’s weight. On the surface your dog can perform all regular work and still look active, but it can get tired too soon. This is an indication towards the increasing weight of your dog resulting in lack of stamina. It is because of this reason that your dog might prefer the couch to the backyard where exercising requires a lot of effort.
Lazing Around the House – An energetic dog follows you around the house all the time. To the basement, the backyard, the second floor, everywhere! They jump on every piece of furniture within their reach. But with the increasing weight there will be a lot of effort that will be required in order to do these routine things. It requires a slight observation to understand this change. If the dog is just lazing around the house and is not willing to go from one floor to another, then it can be understood that the dog is overweight.
Trouble in Breathing – If the dog seems to pant a lot even when it’s not hot then it could be happening due to excessive weight. A dog that is out of shape can get out of breath quite quickly. Even after a short walk or a playing session the dog can start panting heavily or can even refuse to move ahead. All these scenarios are an indication to the fact of the dog being overweight.
Digestive Issues – Dogs that are overweight also tend to have issues related to digestion, which also includes constipation. If the dog is facing a lot of tummy issues lately, then he might need to loose some weight and get on a proper diet plan. Adopting a proper diet plan as suggested by the vet based on the age, breed and activity levels can help to keep a tab on the ongoing weight issues.
How to diagnose if your Dog is obese?
Body Shape – It is one of the simplest ways to identify whether or not the dog is overweight. If you are not able to feel the ribs of the dog it can be because of the thick layer of fat over them. The rib test is the most effective test to check the weight issues. At an ideal weight, one should be able to feel the ribs, but not see them as this can mean that the dog is too skinny. But if you cannot feel them then it is a result of the fat that has been accumulating over the years. Either way it is required to change the dog’s diet and indulge in outdoor exercises.
Weighing the Dog – The best way to tell that dog is overweight or not is to take the weight measurement. It could be done best at the next vet visit. The Vet can tell the ideal weight the dog should have depending upon its size and breed. He can also examine the dog’s body and cite any other alarming effects caused as a result of increasing weight.
Shape of the Waist and Abdomen – It is a more scientific way of understanding whether the dog is overweight or not. When you look at the dog from the side, the body shape should be wider at the chest and thinner at the abdomen. If the body shape of the dog is looking like a tube, then it is an indication that the dog is overweight. Also, while looking at your dog from above, you should be able to clearly spot his waist. If the figure of your dog is straight or thicker at the waist, then it is an alarming situation that the dog is obese.
Usually the pet parent is not even aware of the fact that their dog is overweight. It is necessary that the pet parent understands the difference between a healthy dog and an overweight Dog. The busy schedule of pet parents often results in lack of outdoor activities for the dog. This increases the chances of the dog to gain weight and encourages further health issues related to obesity. It is better to take note of the symptoms well in advance before going to the vet or making use of any vet on call services in order to treat the pet.
Obesity in dogs can be treated by focusing on weight loss followed by maintaining a healthy and ideal weight. Visiting a vet at regular intervals is the best practice to understand the ideal weight of the dog depending on the breed. Like humans, dogs also require indulging in outdoor activities and exercise. This keeps them healthy and active. It is also required to make the correct selection of dog food. Selecting dog food which is high in protein and low in fat helps in stimulating metabolism and also increase satiety.