[Updated 8 October 2021]
Many pet owners will find this photo very distressing. I mean, how could this possibly happen?
Like humans, if your dog is not given sufficient physical and, just as importantly, mental exercise, they can become overweight which can lead to obesity.
This can lead to serious health problems, such as diabetes or degenerative joint disease, not to mention a host of behavioural issues.
Weight gain in pets is often a result of the combination of overfeeding and lack of exercise, which includes lack of mentally-stimulating games.
To keep your pet at a healthy weight, be sure to provide a healthy balance between food intake and physical activity.
For example, have set feeding times instead of providing food all day, and make sure to include at least one daily walk or some playtime.
The plain fact is, you actually have control over the nutritional intake of your dog.
It is often hard, but by giving in to those adorable puppy-dog eyes saying “feed me”, and ignoring a good dietary regime, you are being unkind to your pet.
In order to provide your beloved pet with the highest quality of life and longevity, be sure to follow these simple steps to prevent your pet from becoming obese.
Causes of Obesity in Dogs
There are many contributing factors to obesity in dogs such as their age, sex, level of activeness, reproductive status, diet, as well as how much food they eat and the additional snacks and treats they are given.
At Your Top Dog, you can find the best dog foods and advice for your pet.
All dogs can suffer from obesity; their genetics can play a role in their weight too. It’s a known fact that neutered adult dogs often weigh more than those which are un-neutered, according to research.
Read this article by Diamond Pet for more information on this.
Prevention of Obesity in Dogs
There are several ways to prevent dogs from becoming obese. We’ve outlined the most important ones for you below.
- Physical Activity:
Exercise is absolutely vital for the physical and mental well-being of dogs. But exercise needs to be more than just a short walk around the block, depending on your dog. Walks should be around 15 minutes per mile in pace and last for a minimum of 20 minutes in order to improve and maintain a dog’s health.
- Mental Exercise
This is often overlooked as a vital part of a dog’s healthy activity. But actually, without mental exercise, your pet can get bored and lethargic. Boredom leads to listlessness and eventually behavioural problems.
Check out some ideas here designed to mentally stimulate your dog.
As we mentioned previously, it’s wise to stick to one type of food for your dog once they are settled with it. Aim to avoid titbits and if you do give them any treats, ensure they are taken into consideration when weighing out your dog’s food at mealtimes.
Important update – After considerable research I have come across a line of healthy natural dog food by Diamond. Now, dogs come in all sorts of breeds, sizes, and therefore, dietary requirements. Diamond have catered for this by producing lines, each having specific ingredients to care for your pet’s health.
A great article to read about your dog’s diet is this one by the RSPCA
- Consult a Veterinarian:
Staying in contact with your dog’s vet and taking on board their advice for weight loss/control is important. If your dog is struggling with their weight, your vet will be able to offer sound advice on how to best deal with the issue in a safe way. Consider your vet as your No. 2 best friend!
Find a qualified vet near you by using this link.
- Regular Weight Checks:
Keeping a regular eye on your dog’s weight, including keeping a record of their weight is useful.
Treatment of Obesity in Dogs
If you find that your dog is overweight, or in more severe cases are obese, then you should take conscious steps to overcome the issue.
You can begin by doing the following:
- Changing their feeding habits
- Increasing the amount of exercise you give your pet
- Reassess the type of food they are eating and the amount you give them
- Factor in more frequent visits to the vet so you can gain access to on-going weight loss tips and free weight checks.
Check out this article, ‘How to put your dog on a diet’
Your dog should typically lose in the region of 0.48kg and 1.6kg of their total weight each month, depending on the size and breed of the dog according to The Blue Cross. If this is too much of a struggle for them then your vet can advise you.
Your dog will thank you in so many ways for helping them lose weight and for keeping them fit and active.