Did your dog make a New Year’s Resolution to lose a few pounds in 2015? If not, did she need to?
It’s easy to look at our beloved pets and think that the chubby tummy or waddly walk is cute and adorable. However, we may be putting our petted pooches in danger by letting them get portly.
How To Tell If Your Dog Is Obese
Any dog over 15% of their ideal body weight can be considered to be obese and can run a higher risk of related diseases including diabetes, liver and heart disease, arthritis, respiratory issues and pancreatitis. Nasty stuff.
An easy way to identify if your dog is heavier than it should be is by looking at her waist; can you see one? Can you feel her ribs easily? If not, it’s time to take action and get your dog back into a healthy weight range.
Why Do Dogs Become Obese?
There are three main factors at play when it comes to obesity in dogs:
1. Lack of appropriate physical and mental exercise
If you don’t exercise your dog to burn off more calories than it consumes, she will put on weight. It’s basic maths and biology. Research the recommended exercise levels for your breed of dog and stick to it.
We understand that life can sometimes get in the way of a long yomp through the fields but even when you are unable to take your pooch out for a longer walk, make up for it with mental simulation and play. A tug of war with a pair of socks always gets hearts racing!
2. Poor diet and nutrition
Never feed your dog what you wouldn’t feed yourself. That’s not saying you should feed your pup fillet steak every day. Just consider how you would feel and look if you lived on a diet of processed food made with filler ingredients, with no nutritional proteins or vegetables.
Feeding your dog the cheapest available ‘filler food’ may be cheaper in the short term, but the risk of obesity related diseases as outlined above may mean that this is a false economy.
Again, do your research into what your dog needs to live a healthy, happy life and try to accommodate this on a long term basis.
3. A genetic predisposition of the breed to obesity
Some breeds are just destined to have weight issues, be that for biological reasons or lifestyle reasons. Working dogs are more likely to stay lithe and at a healthy weight than a Dachshund with little legs that enjoys a good snooze rather than chasing squirrels!
7 Dog Breeds That Are Prone To Obesity
Whilst all dogs are susceptible to putting on weight through poor nutrition and exercise, there are a few particular breeds that are at high risk of becoming obese. These are listed below.
Beagles can be a bit food obsessed and have voracious appetites. They won’t turn their nose up at anything if it is food related! Restrict ‘treat’ foods and try to keep your pup on a carefully monitored diet.
It’s harder for dogs to lose weight than to maintain a steady number on the scale, so have a monthly weigh in with your Beagle to keep on track.
The Labrador Retriever Breed are notorious snackers and their puppy dog eyes at the dinner table can often win you over. Keep an eye on your Labradors diet and avoid additional snacks if you notice he is getting a bit stouter than usual.
The classic lapdog, a Pug can easily go days without exercise if they can get away with it. They can also be a bit of a glutton. Combined with their somewhat laissez-faire outlook on cardio vascular activity, this can lead to a pudgy Pug.
Don’t let your Pug convince you they deserve a sofa snuggle rather than a walk!
The English Bulldog are the breed where they only have to look at a nice juicy bone and the weight goes piling on. This is a classic case of ‘a moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips’ as they are overeaters by nature. Watch their intake and measure out meals to make sure they don’t put on weight.
These little fellas with their little legs find it easier to do exercise in littler amounts. Little leads to big in this case though and allowing your Dachshund to spend its days lounging on the sofa eating snacks will have a real impact on his health, so make sure you take him for plenty of ‘little’ walks each day!
These big dogs are so shaggy that it can sometimes be difficult to see if they have put on a few pounds here and there. It’s important to regularly check your Newfoundland dog to identify signs of obesity. You should always be able to feel their ribs and see a defined waist when you brush their fur out of the way.
As they are so large, it can be easy to think they need more food than they actually do, so keep an eye on food amounts.
Rottweilers can often be used as guard dogs and it may be tempting to think ‘the bigger the dog, the better the guard’. As with all dogs, this isn’t the case. An unfit, unhealthy dog will never be the best at their ‘job’.
Rottweilers are prone to hyperthyroidism, meaning that they gain weight easily. The best way to combat this? Lots and lots of exercises. Rottweilers will lap up all the running around playtime you are willing to give them.
The key message here is to recognise that your dog may be prone to obesity and to proactively do something to prevent it, be that via diet or exercise. Say goodbye to waddling and hello to wellbeing!
Featured Image via Mr TGT