top of page

Dog Obesity: A Closer Look


What is Canine Obesity?


Dog obesity refers to an excessive amount of body fat, usually due to overeating (the wrong food) and lack of exercise. It can lead to serious health issues like diabetes, heart disease, joint problems, and even, a shorter lifespan. It's also a drain on your wallet due to increased vet bills. But don't worry - a few simple changes in diet and exercise can make a big difference!


Spotting Obesity in Dogs


Ever wondered if your dog is just fluffy or actually overweight? Here are some telltale signs:

  • Unexplained weight gain

  • No discernible waistline

  • Ribs lost in fat folds

  • Excessive body fat

  • Swollen belly

  • Poor grooming habits

  • Limited mobility

  • Overwhelming lethargy

  • Heavy breathing




Why is your Dog Overweight?


The culprits behind your dog's expanding waistline could be:


Environment

  • Overindulgence: Too many meals, treats, and ultra-processed foods can tip the scale.

  • Couch Potato Lifestyle: Indoor dogs are more prone to piling on the pounds.

  • Owner's Perception: You might not realise that your dog is overweight.

 

Physiology

  • Getting on in Years: Older dogs are less active, burning fewer calories.

  • Genetics: Some breeds like Spaniels, Golden Retrievers, Pugs, Beagles, and Labradors are more likely to be overweight.


Surgery

  • Neutering/Spaying: Alters metabolism and can trigger increased hunger and fat storage

 

Medications

  • Certain drugs can stimulate overeating or abnormal fat accumulation.

 

Diseases

  • Health conditions such as hypothyroidism, insulinoma, and hyperadrenocorticism can lead to weight gain.


Diagnosing Obesity in Dogs

The Body Condition Score (BCS) system helps diagnose obesity. It's a simple, hands-on test to gauge your dog's body fat. Here's a quick guide:


  • Underweight: Bones sticking out

  • Ideal Weight: Ribs easily felt, noticeable waistline with an hourglass figure

  • Overweight: Ribs hard to feel, no waistline

  • Obese: Ribs only felt with pressure, protruding belly


Read more about identifying your dog's body condition in my blog on the topic.


Treating Obesity in Dogs

When it comes to treating dog obesity, a two-pronged approach involving a balanced diet and regular exercise is the key. First, consult your vet to rule out any medical reasons for weight gain. Then, focus on reducing calorie intake and increasing physical activity.


A diet high in protein and low in fat can work wonders for your pet's weight loss as it boosts metabolism and keeps them feeling full. It's also important to avoid table scraps and high-carb treats. Instead, consider fresh vegetables as a healthy alternative.


Remember, reducing the quantity of your dog's regular kibble isn't the solution. It's specifically formulated to provide necessary nutrients, so cutting back could lead to nutritional deficiencies. Instead, consider transitioning to a homemade diet under the guidance of a nutritionist. From my experience, this is the most successful way to support your dog through their weight loss journey.


Exercise is equally important in maintaining a healthy weight. Options range from daily walks and outdoor games to treadmill training and swimming. Tools like special feeding bowls and treat balls can encourage slow eating and additional physical activity.


Once your pet starts a weight management protocol, monitor their body weight monthly and tweak the diet and exercise plan as needed. It's a journey that requires consistency and patience, but the reward is a healthier, happier pet.


Nailing the Nutrition!


The path to your dog's healthy weight is paved with good nutrition. Here are a few tips:

  • Quality over Quantity: Opt for nutritionally dense food rather than large quantities of less nutritious options. A homemade diet provides exactly this.

  • Portion Control: Even the healthiest meal can cause weight gain if given in excess. Your nutritionist will advise you about portion sizes for safe weight loss.

  • Regular Exercise: It's your dog's best friend! Ensure they have their daily dose of physical activity.

A healthy weight for dogs is not a one-size-fits-all. It depends on factors such as breed, age, and size. Therefore, it's always a good idea to consult a veterinarian and a canine nutritionist for personalised advice.


To conclude, let's remember that our dogs depend on us for their dietary needs. As responsible pet parents, let's ensure we provide them with the right nutrition and care to maintain a healthy weight. After all, nothing beats seeing our fur friends happy, healthy, and loving life!


Concerned about your dog's weight? Reach out today, and together, we'll guide your dog to a healthier, safer weight.




Comments


Recent Posts

bottom of page