Obesity Rates In Dogs Are Expanding

August 20, 2017

Obesity Rates In Dogs Are Expanding

Obesity rates in dogs are expanding, yet many pet parents do not understand some of the serious health consequences that obesity poses to their dog. Some of the best pet parents I know think their dog is cute with their plumpness!

Although some dog owners believe that their overweight dogs are cute, even a few extra pounds can have serious health implications including a reduced life expectancy and a diminished quality of life. Check out these healthy treats from South Fork Pet Company, with all-natural ingredients that are free of grains, chemicals, artificial flavors, coloring, and preservatives.  Plus, your dog is going to love the taste!

Obesity is a Problem for Humans and Dogs

Obesity rates in dogs are expanding along with the human populations. In fact, we currently recognize obesity as the most significant medical disease affecting our canine family members as well. Pet obesity is one of the most important issues facing our beloved canines. Being obese puts your dog at risk for a broad range of diseases and other problems, and significantly impacts their quality of life.

The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention began in 2005 by Ernie Ward, DVM. The APOP’s primary goals are to measure the occurrence of pet obesity in the U.S. and to raise awareness among those working in the field of vet med and pet owners on pet obesity. To learn more about APOP and for some helpful tips, click here.

Why Pet Obesity is a Big Problem

Obesity rates in dogs are expanding. Sadly, nearly 50 million dogs in the United States are overweight or obese. Pets with obesity are at an increased risk of metabolic and endocrine disorders including Type II Diabetes, respiratory disorders, and renal dysfunction.

Obesity has also been shown to contribute or worsen osteoarthritis, hypertension, kidney disease, and is associated with several cancers in dogs. It turns out that the real danger of excess fat is not the fat, but rather the inflammation the fat causes!

The take-home message is the relationship among obesity in dogs is to try to eliminate the problem before it starts. Insulin, obesity, and longevity are intimately intertwined. As per Dr. Ward, obesity and its low-grade inflammation are the biggest health threats that dogs face.

The more we learn about excessive inflammation in pets, the more we understand the importance of keeping it at safe levels. One of the best ways to combat obesity in your dog is to provide them with daily exercise. Click here, for tips on exercising with your dog.  

Begging Plays a Role in Obesity

Obesity rates in dogs are expanding and begging is contributing to the problem. As in my family, there is one that gives in to the begging, and then there is me that has seen the ill effects of obesity and won’t give in to those sad eyes. There is a place for treats  in your dog’s diet. However, there is no room for table scraps in your dog’s healthy diet.

Begging is not always about your pet’s hunger. More times than not, it is often about seeking attention.  We all know how much our beloved fur friends need attention. Instead of extra treats and table scraps, try giving your dog some attention with human interaction and providing them with a diet that allows them to remain satiated.

Is Your Pet at a Healthy Weight?

Your veterinarian may conduct a body conditioning assessment   on your dog to determine if they are too thin, optimal, overweight, or obese. The scale is 1-9 and consists of looking down at your dog to see if they have a waistline, feeling your dog’s ribs, and looking for fat deposits and visible abdominal distension (your canine’s belly is dragging on the floor)!

To determine if your dog is overweight, ask these three simple questions:

  1. Can you easily feel your dog’s ribs?
  2. Does your dog have a tucked-in abdomen rather than a drooping stomach?
  3. Look at your dog from above. Does your dog have a waist?

If you were able to answer yes to the above questions, then your dog is at a healthy weight.

Are You Overfeeding Your Dog?

As a general rule of thumb, treats should account for roughly 10%, or less, of the recommended daily calorie intake for your dog. Those small gifts from the table that seem harmless can turn out to be the equivalent of a large meal!

Longevity studies in dogs have found that dogs that were fed 25% fewer calories and kept at a lean body mass lived an average of two years longer than their overweight counterparts. In addition to living a longer life, their quality of life was also better! The lean dogs required fewer medications and remained more active well into their older years.

A healthy, active dog is something that every pet owner wants for their fur family member! Yes, obesity rates in dogs are expanding, but your dog does not need to be one of them. Take steps today to ensure you enjoy a long life with your beloved dog.