Canine Obesity
Is perhaps the largest single threat to your dog’s overall health

Canine obesity is very dangerous for your dog as it can cause difficulty in breathing as well as walking and it also places your pet at a lot more risk to heat as well as heart disease.

There are several reasons why your dog becomes obese such as disease or energy metabolism.

But the top reason by far and away is too many calories and too little exercise.

HOW CANINE OBESITY IS DEFINED

Obesity in dogs is actually defined as an excessive accumulation of body fat and it is estimated that between 30 and 40 percent of all dogs are obese or at risk at being obese.

It is also the number one nutrition related health condition in dogs.

Most owners have no idea or silently ignore the fact that there dog is obese until they go to their veterinarian for something else.

One of the first things your veterinarian will do is to weigh your dog as they fully understand how important maintaining the proper weight is to their overall health.

There are some very easy guidelines that you can do on your own to determine if your dog is overweight or getting very close to this very dangerous condition.

THE OBESITY TEST

If your dog is at a healthy weight you should be able to feel their ribs very easily when you touch their rib cage.

Their stomach does will not sag at all, and you can very easily see their waist if you stand directly over them and look down.

Older dogsCanine obesity may be the result of something more sinister

If you’re dog has canine obesity you will have a very hard time finding their ribs and their stomach sags.

If you are totally honest you can grab a handful of fat, their back is broad and flat, and when you stand over them their waist does not exist or it is nowhere to be found.

However, the most telling sign is the broad flat back.

Even if a disease is challenging your dog they are taking in more calories than they are burning, and they are not getting enough exercise.

When the amount of calories that your dog takes in exceeds the amount of calories that they burn, the result is fat.

It only takes slightly over one percent of an increase in calorie intake to result in a 25 percent increase over your dog’s ideal body weight.

Calories as just as important in dogs as they are to us and it is extremely important to watch their calorie intake as closely as you can.

A 10 pound dog should not consume more than 300 calories a day, a 20 pound dog more than 500 calories, and a 50 dog should not consume more than 1200 calories.

Working dogs can easily get by with slightly more calories as they will burn more than an average dog.

MORE POTENTIAL CAUSES

Canine obesity can be caused by other reasons other than dietary concerns, such as Hypothyroidism as well as Cushing ’s disease.

However, even with an underlying disease, calorie intake has to be monitored.

Hypothyroidism is a very common condition in dogs and it is estimated that over 60 percent of all dogs with this disease will gain weight and become obese if not closely regulated.

The thyroid gland in your dog has several functions, but perhaps its largest function is regulating metabolism produced by the thyroid hormones.

Hypothyroidism is a condition where your dog’s body simply does not produce enough of these hormones and as a result, your does not metabolism nutrients fast enough.

If your dog suddenly develops hair loss or skin problems combined with a slow steady weight gain, you should have them checked for this disease.

Cushings disease is a condition that results from the chronic over production of too much glucocorticold in the body.

In a normal dog, the pituitary gland produces a hormone called ACTH which stimulates the adrenal glands to produce these hormones which are necessary for several functions.

If too much glucocorticold is produced, the result is Cushings disease. Over 80 percent of the dogs that are affected with this disease develop an increased appetite.

They will start to steal food, get into the garbage, beg almost continually, as well as become very protective of food.

But it is more than just a healthy appetite and can very quickly lead to Canine obesity.

EFFECTIVE TREATMENTS ARE NOT EASY

Treatment for Canine obesity will not be easy and there are no fads diets for dogs.

It will have to be a joint effort and everyone has to recognize that this family member has a problem that is affecting their health.

It will do no good if you place them on a regimented diet and someone else comes along and gives them a treat with a high calorie count.

It will also be extremely important to work very closely with your veterinarian through this very difficult ordeal.

It will generally take between 8 and 12 months to get your dog back down to the ideal weight for their breed.

Feeding them less of their regular dog food is not going to make any difference at all.

You must place your dog on a food that is specially formulated for weight loss and there are several very good brands available.

This is extremely important to ensure that the nutritional status stays constant to keep your dog’s immune system operating at full capacity.

You will also have to switch treats from the beginning using a very low calorie treat or substitute the treat with carrots or light air popcorn.

Most dogs absolutely love popcorn and this treat can be fun for the entire family as well as your dog.

You will also need to supply your dog with more drinking water as this is still your dog’s best overall nutrient.

You will also need to start a very detailed and daily exercise routine and stick to it for the sake of your pet’s health.

If you have a pool, the best exercise for a dog is swimming.

There are no fad diets, but there are weight loss support chews available.

Summary

Canine obesity can cut your pets life short as well as make what used to be a very active dog lethargic.

The first step in treating this potentially serious health threat is in admitting it and then getting the rest of your family, or friends, to buy into it and accept it, especially children.

There are no fad diets for dogs and any attempt at one will do more harm to their health than obesity will.

Following up at least every 4 to 6 weeks with your veterinarian is also critical in maintaining the overall health of your dog.

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