Obesity in dogs and the effects

Obesity is an issue which can cause serious health problems for dogs, and unfortunately it’s rather common to find dogs becoming overweight as a result of over-feeding or having an unbalanced diet. There are a number of effects that excess fat can have on an animal’s body, particularly around the heart, joints, breathing and digestive system, and long-term obesity can seriously impact a dog’s quality of life. Obesity can make dogs less willing to be active and playful, which not only increases the chances of them becoming more overweight but also deprives them of what is a very natural, fun activity for most dogs! It can create suffering if breathing and walking becomes difficult, and can result in a shorter lifespan. Obesity is common in dogs, but can be tackled with a good nutrition plan and a lot of willpower!

The main cause of obesity can best be described as an imbalance between the energy a dog consumes (through its food) and the amount that it uses (through exercise). This means that even if a dog is eating the right amount for their age and breed, they’ll normally still gain weight if they’re not getting enough exercise – the same as humans! This might be due to old age, when dogs naturally become less active and therefore need less food, or it might be down to the owner’s feeding and exercise habits. Specific illnesses can also cause weight gain, so it’s always worth checking with your vet to make sure there are no underlying problems.

Signs of obesity include weight gain, which can be easily measured with monthly weigh-ins.

Did you know

Pet Essentials Carrigaline offers a free weigh in service. Bring your dog anytime and we will weigh him/her for you enabling you to monitor any weight loss or weight gain.

A vet will determine whether or not a dog is obese by measuring their body weight, although they may also use a “body condition” score, which takes into account a number of factors including weight and the body composition of that breed.  A question that we get asked quite often is how often a dog should get a treat. Treats are a great way of rewarding your pet or just showing them a little love and attention – and they play an important role in training. However it’s important to make sure you’re only feeding them occasionally. As tempting as it is treat dogs with leftovers or scraps from the table, it’s far better to go for a snack specifically created for dogs. It’s a lot easier to control how much they get this way, and most of them are designed to have health benefits too, like dental chews! Make sure that the amount of treats only add up to around ten per cent of their daily intake – that’s one or two a day on a normal diet.