This post is sponsored by Dexas International, creators of some of my favorite things for travel and camping for dogs. I only work with brands that I use and I would personally recommend, and I think Dexas swings. I am neither a veterinarian nor a veterinary nutritionist. What I am is a passionate mother of dogs who loves to explore.
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In recent years, the Internet has made obese dogs famous for presenting “cute” images and videos of “chonki”. The truth is that if your dog is overweight, it is a serious health condition and is not cute or funny at all.
In fact, it’s pretty damn funny (yell at all the Office fans out there!)
Here’s a statistic that catches your eye: According to the Association for the Prevention of Obesity in Pets, in 2018, approximately 56% of dogs in the United States were overweight or obese.
If you have an overweight dog, it is imperative that you deal with the health problem immediately to avoid further health problems.
How to find out if your dog is overweight
It can be difficult to determine if a dog is overweight in some dogs, especially those with thick fur, but the next section will walk you through the process of identifying whether your dog could suffer a few extra pounds.
Using a chart to assess the condition of the body, you can compare the appearance of your dog with the photos and get an idea of whether your dog can tolerate weight loss.
The scale varies from 1 to 9, with 1 being too thin and 9 being obese. The ideal weight for your dog drops between 4 and 5.
The table for assessing the condition of the dog’s body is explained
The body condition assessment diagram groups dogs into three different categories: Too Thin, Ideal, and Too Heavy.
1-3 = Too thin
Dogs that fall between 1 and 3 are labeled as too thin. These dogs show visible protrusion of bones in the vertebrae, ribs and pelvis, lack of palpable fat and show loss of muscle mass.
4-5 = Ideal weight
This is the cute place you should aim for your dog. The dog’s ribs are easily felt, with minimal fat coverage. Some visibility of the ribs is fine. The waist has a noticeable fit. If you look at your dog from above, you will see the shape of an hourglass.
6-9 = Overweight
Dogs that fall within this range of the scale are considered overweight. The ribs are not palpable and are covered with a layer of fat. There is no noticeable tightness in the dog’s waist and with bloating in obese dogs.
Because each breed differs in size and mixed breeds vary greatly, using this method, instead of aiming for a scale number, may be more helpful in determining your dog’s ideal weight.
Causes of obesity in dogs
With the increasing humanization of pets, dog owners are increasingly spoiling their dogs, often in the form of complementary foods such as high-calorie treats and human food. Frequent treats will also handle the extra weight.
Dogs can also be major manipulators, pretending to be hungry at any time. My mother would always tell me how hungry Sora looked, and I would say she would always eat if given the chance.
If my mother had fed Sora every time she “looked hungry,” I would have had a fat dog in my arms.
Use a suitable measuring cup, such as the Dexas folding KlipScoop, to feed your dog according to the instructions on the food bag. Often dog owners will drink. This is not the same as a measuring cup!
The amount indicated on the food bag is only a starting point. If your dog is obese, feed him less. If your dog is too skinny, feed him more. If your dog is very active, like mine, then feed them more. Use the guide in the table above to determine how much to feed them.
Low levels of activity
Just like humans, if a dog does not get enough exercise, it can become overweight. Your dog should not run 10 miles a day (even if he has a lot of energy), but he needs daily physical activity.
The ideal amount depends on the breed and age of your dog. If you are an active person, choose a breed of dog that loves to run. If you are quite stuck, then choose a breed that requires less exercise.
Need some ideas for fun outdoor activities to enjoy with your dog? I got you!
Weight gain can be a sign of major health problems, such as hormonal disorders such as Cushing’s disease or an underactive thyroid gland.
If your dog looks otherwise healthy and you know he or she is getting enough exercise and a proper diet, take him or her to a veterinarian to determine if there is another reason for the weight gain.
With age, dogs have a higher tendency to be overweight. Part of the culprit is that dog owners retire their dogs from physical activity too early, thinking their dog is too tired.
However, I believe that adult dogs can and should continue to exercise regularly, they just need to be modified to suit their abilities.
Common health problems in overweight dogs
When the dog is overweight, the extra strain on the organs can significantly affect the quality of life of the dog. Obesity can lead to a number of health problems, including:
Heart Disease Diabetes Cancer Arthritis Death High Blood Pressure Respiratory Disease Heat Stroke
Breeds of dogs prone to obesity
Although any breed of dog can become overweight, there are some breeds that have a greater tendency to gain weight. Especially small dogs are overweight because parents of pets do not think they should exercise so much.
If you have one of the following breeds, be sure to monitor their weight.
Labrador Retrievers Golden Retrievers Cocker Spaniels Pugs Dachshunds Basset Hound Beagle
How to help your dog lose weight
Recognizing that your dog has a weight problem is the first step, because it means that you are now open to dealing with the problem and are committed to getting your pet back on a healthy level.
The two obvious keys to losing weight in overweight pets are fewer calories and exercise. They often go hand in hand, but it’s not always that simple.
Measure or weigh your dog’s food
As I mentioned above, use a measuring cup or scale to weigh your dog’s daily rations. This will prevent them from overeating. Remember that the amount indicated on the package is a suggestion based on the weight of the dog.
To find out your dog’s ideal weight, talk to your veterinarian.
Eat a quality diet
The type of food you feed your dog can play a role in their weight, just like in humans. Low quality or high calorie foods will lead to weight gain. Look for dog food that includes a higher protein content.
I personally feed my dog a mixture of raw materials from Northwest Naturals and Only Natural Pet MaxMeat.
Keep in mind that while reducing calories, you want to make sure your dog is getting the right vitamins, minerals and fatty acids.
Take the whole family on board
It’s a good idea to have a discussion with the whole family to make sure everyone agrees with the plan and understands that they can’t sneak dog treats or leftovers from the table.
Crate training and space command would be very useful skills for this situation, especially for those with young children or people like my mother who feel sorry for the dog.
Consult a veterinary nutritionist
If reducing calories and increasing exercise do not work, then consider seeking the help of a veterinary nutritionist.
They will be able to determine the potential causes of weight gain and adjust your dog’s diet and put them on a healthy weight loss plan to achieve their ideal body weight.