Dog obesity is a rising trend in the world today as is obesity in cats and humans. No one knows why this is true but there are a lot of theories and hypotheses. One predisposing factor is a tendency towards a more sedentary lifestyle. It is caused by feeding too much food and too little exercise.
Canine Obesity Defined
Body condition is usually judged by humans by judging the amount of fat that is located over the ribs. The ribs are underneath a thick layer of fat and cannot be felt in an obese dog. A dog is obese when it weighs 20% over his or her optimum weight. Canine obesity predisposes an obese dog to many health conditions including diabetes and arthritis.
Just like with humans, dog obesity predisposes overweight dogs to diabetes. Diabetes is the inability of the body to utilize or produce insulin. Insulin is involved in the utilization of sugar by the body’s cells. When a dog is obese, there is a tendency for the cells to develop a problem with receptors for insulin. This causes the dog’s body to have a problem utilizing insulin.
Obesity predisposed arthritis because the extra weight is putting more stress on the joints and ligaments. Each time the overweight dog runs and jumps, the joints are stressed more and more, resulting in inflammation and pain.
Other Health Conditions
There are many health ailments that can be tied to obesity. On top of Diabetes and Arthritis, cancer and heart conditions are also being studied.
Dog Weight Loss
As with human obesity, dog weight loss depends on exercising and burning more calories than the dog takes in. In other words, treatment consists of less ingested calories and more exercise as well as time and patience. The patience is necessary because losing 15% of the dog’s weight can take 6 months or more.
How much to feed a dog can be tricky though. This is almost as tricky as what dog diet to feed. With so many dog food options on the market, it is almost impossible to know where to turn. The best option would be to consult with your local veterinarian. Some dog food options available to put your dog on a diet is listed below. The list was taken from amazon.com and prices are subject to change.
Iams Proactive Health Weight Control for Adult Dog , 17.5-Pound Bags-$17.88
Blue Buffalo Weight Control Formula Dry Dog Food, 30-Pound Bag-$48.19
Wellness Super5 Mix Healthy Weight Recipe Dog Food-$53.99
Eukanuba Large Breed Weight Control Dog Food – 30 Pounds-$47.99
IAMS Bicuits for Dogs-$46.15
Canine obesity has become a real problem in recent years along with the consequences of overweight dogs. The worst part is that these disease associated with dog obesity are preventable with the proper diet and exercise.
References: Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine. Canine Obesity. available at http://www.cfs.purdue.edu/extension/documents/Canine_Obesity.pdf and accessed on April 11, 2012.