Obesity in Dogs - The Deadliest Disease is the Most Preventable The primary cause of obesity in dogs is simple. We feed them too much food and we exercise them too little. This is true even for the dog breeds at increased risk of obesity such as the Labrador Retrievers, Beagles, Basset Hounds, Cocker Spaniels, and Shetland Sheepdogs. Moreover, what is even more worrying is the fact that, most owners are unaware their dog is overweight. Obese dogs have heavy layers of fat over the ribs, along the spine and around the tail. They frequently experience difficulty breathing. They have reduced exercise tolerance or capacity. There is a strong relationship between obesity and diabetes. The early signs of diabetes in dogs are the same as in people. The dog begins to drink excessively and to urinate frequently. If you suspect your dog is overweight or if your dog has any of these symptoms call your veterinarian for an appointment. The veterinarian will do a physical examination to determine the cause and the extent of the problem. Blood tests will help determine if any diseases are related to the excess weight or actually causing the weight gain. These tests will check for decreased liver function. An evaluation of the heart and lungs will also be done. Hormonal diseases will also be researched. An ideal weight for your pet will be determined. A weight loss program will then be designed specifically for your pet. There are enormous benefits of a weight loss program for your pet. Obesity in dogs is a preventable disease and its prevention/cure rests squarely in the hands of the owner. The list of serious medical problems related to excess weight includes: heart disease, high blood pressure, heat intolerance, joint damage, and cancer. Overweight and obese dogs are also at an increased risk of complications during surgery. Research has shown that during this time of reduced caloric intake, a vitamin/mineral supplement is a recommended solution. A fish oil supplement is also a good idea. These supplements insure that your dog is receiving the micro-nutrients and essential fatty acids needed to maintain good health. Overweight dogs need to be closely watched during exercise to make sure they do not have trouble breathing, especially in hot weather. You do not want to stress the dogâ€™s heart or lungs. Swimming may be the best exercise for dogs with joint problems. A veterinarian is an expert in making these choices. He may want short sessions of low to moderate activity to start. The proper caloric intake is also very individualized. The amount and frequency of feeding is much more precise from a veterinarian.
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Published on Feb 28, 2013
Obesity is the most common nutrition-related health condition in dogs. Between 25 to 40 percent of dogs are obese or are likely to become ob...