Dog obesity might not seem like it’s that big of a deal, but in reality, this is one of the most common health challenges for dogs. It can be easy to think that giving your dog treats or feeding them some extra food is harmless, but it can actually be very bad for your pet to make them gain too much weight.
Dogs that are overweight are less likely to have a long and healthy life, and they tend to struggle with other kinds of health problems as well. Keeping your dog to a healthy weight is important for their well-being. Knowing more about dog obesity can help you to be sure that you don’t want to let your dog gain so much weight that their health is in danger.
How Do I Know What a Healthy Weight is?
Many pet owners are not actually aware of what a healthy dog’s weight should be. The answer to this question can vary depending on your dog’s breed and size, but overall, you can use some basic guidelines to verify your dog’s weight visually. Make sure that your pet has a visible “waist” and that you can see their flanks. In pets with long hair, you can use your hands to feel if there is a thinner spot in front of your dog’s hips.
Pets should not look round or spherical when viewed from above looking down. Also, be aware of a very thick neck, as that can be a sign of added weight on the body. If you are not sure about your dog’s overall body condition with your own examination, your vet will be able to tell you if your pet is too heavy or not. Your vet will also be able to help you to figure out a better nutrition plan for your pet that will ensure that they are not going to remain overweight. Avoiding human foods and making sure not to feed too many treats can go a long way toward keeping your pet at a healthy weight.
Reasons That Dogs Should Not Become Obese
There are many reasons you will want to help prevent your dog from becoming overweight:
Damage to the Organs
Dogs who are obese usually struggle to get up and down and to be active. They might even struggle to get water and to eat. On top of this, the added pressure on your dog’s organs related to carrying around a lot of extra weight can be very bad for their lungs and their heart. Dogs that are too heavy might suffer from long-term lung and heart issues, even if they lose weight and become more active over time.
Obesity in dogs can also be hard on your pet’s liver and kidneys. Many dogs that are obese have trouble digesting their food and might also be getting fed items that lead to things like pancreatitis. Making sure that your pet is eating foods that are appropriate and safe for them to consume and that you are not feeding them too large portions can help keep their organs healthy throughout their life.
Increased Risk of Injury
Dogs that are obese but still trying to be active can be at an increased risk of getting hurt. Falls, slips, and tumbles off of tall items like stairs or couches can all lead to injury in dogs that are obese. You should be careful about exposing your pet to this kind of risk since broken bones and soft tissue injuries can be quite painful. Additionally, it can be very hard to heal these kinds of injuries if your pet is obese.
Preventing injury in big dogs is particularly difficult when they are obese. In some cases, just having extra weight to carry around can lead to orthopedic issues that will cause lifelong pain and suffering for your pet. Being mindful of the amount of weight that your dog’s body was meant to carry can help to prevent repetitive injuries as well as more sudden injuries. Dogs also really need to be active for mental stimulation, and this can be very difficult if your pet is too obese to move around easily.
Risk of Long-Term Illness
Many pets that are obese are at risk for a whole host of long-term illnesses. Even if your pet gets back to a healthy weight, they might still suffer from health challenges due to the damage done while they were obese. Things like diabetes might resolve once your dog is no longer obese, but damage to the organs or severe injuries that happened due to the time when your pet was obese can have lingering impacts on their well-being. Making sure that your pet does not have to suffer from long-term health issues is one of the big reasons for keeping your pet at a healthy weight for its breed and size.
Dog Obesity Can be Bad for Any Dog’s Health
Dogs that are obese can be at risk of suffering from a huge array of health issues. It is always a good idea to be sure that you are not feeding human foods to your pet and that they are not getting too many dog treats either. Some pets will be more prone to gain weight than others, so you might have to adjust to your dog’s specific needs to be sure they are not getting too heavy.
Your vet can help you to make a plan to care for your dog’s weight and exercise needs so that you can be sure that you are not putting them at risk of becoming too heavy. Keeping your dog at a healthy weight can improve their longevity and help them to avoid lots of health issues that could cause issues for the rest of their life. Dogs can be very food motivated, and it is important that pet owners do not feel bad about telling their pets no when it comes to feeding treats or too much food at each meal. Your dog’s overall well-being depends on them remaining at a healthy weight which is why it’s key that dog owners are careful about how they feed their pets.
West Ashley Veterinary Clinic in Charleston, SC offers a full range of veterinary services to keep your pets happy and healthy through all stages of life!