My dog is getting fat, what should I do?

April 13, 2012

A waddling roly-poly puppy would be enchanting to watch. The rounded body, the soft and cuddly fur as well as the slow shuffling gait would never fail to catch the attention of dog lovers and non-dog lovers alike. The puppy is expected to shed the puppy fat as it gets older. That is, if the owners have made sure that pet the gets only the right amount of food. Allowing the pet to be overweight is practically an invitation for various health concerns.

Being overweight has always been the concern of humans. Nobody wants to be called “Fatso”. However, in spite of the fitness craze and the wide acceptance of healthy diets, obesity is still on the rise. The life style, the sedentary jobs, the fondness for foods rich in sugar and fat – these are some of the factors that lead to obesity. Dogs are considered as family members thus whatever the family eats will be eaten by the dog as well. The fattening snacks will be tossed to the dog. The table scraps would be heaped on the doggie bowl. Would it be any wonder if the dog similar to the human family will get fat as well? Dogs are pampered pets. Instead of allowing the dog to walk for the much needed exercise, the pet will be cuddled and carried by the owner. The calories from the “best foods” the owner provided the dog could have been burned if only the pet is allowed to get enough exercise.

So your dog is getting fat. Fat dogs are cute but are you aware that fat pets are more prone to health concerns? Just as in humans, the fat pet can develop heart diseases as the arteries and the valves of the heart can be clogged by the fat cells. The heart’s function of supplying blood and oxygen to all the tissues of the body will be compromised. Enlargement of the heart muscles will result as this organ will need to work harder. Just as with the heart, the liver that is clogged with fat cells will be unable to filter the toxins from the blood efficiently. Death is imminent when the heart and the liver shut down. Arthritis and diabetes are common health concerns of overweight dogs. Due to the undue strain to the bones and joints caused by the excess weight, the dog will suffer from musculoskeletal disorders. Diabetes occurs when there is a high level of blood sugar in the blood stream. Canine diabetes is a life threatening disease as even the most minor infection can be aggravated by the high sugar levels in the bloodstream.

Humans have an ongoing battle with obesity. Just as with humans, weight management can be difficult for dogs given the fact that fat pets have the tendency to eat more and to be less active. Daily calorie intake exceeds the amount of energy burned so that excess calories are stored in the body as fat. The owner may not be aware of the condition of the pet especially if the actual size of the body is hidden by the dog’s long hair. If your dog is fat the best way to get the desired healthy weight is to consult a vet. The dog’s condition may not be due to the usual causes of obesity which are too much calorie intake and less exercise. It is possible that the dog has a thyroid disease affects the metabolism. The vet would advise you on a calorie controlled diet for the pet. It may be necessary to change the diet to one that is specially formulated for dogs with weight concerns. You, the dog owner has to cut back on giving the pet fattening treats. To help the pet shed excess calories you have to make sure that the pet has daily exercise.

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