Without mincing words, if your dog is overweight then you need to know about diet dog food in order to cut back on the excess weight and help your dog’s overall health. A dog that is overweight or out rightly obese needs to be put on a diet.
Health risk of an obese or overweight dog
Just as in humans, extra weight on your dog put extra demands on almost all the organs of her body. Overloaded body organ increases the risk of diseases and may even result in outright death. The health risks associated with overweight dogs are pretty serious and all dog owners need to be aware of them.
Health consequences of an overweight dog
- A very common complication associated with obesity/overweight in dogs is sugar diabetes.
- Damage to ligaments, bones and joints – studies has shown that about 25% of dogs suffering from overweight develop severe joint complications. This may result in Arthritis.
- Just like with humans, overweight in dogs result in increased blood pressure (hypertension) and extra work required of the heart to pump extra blood to excess tissue may result in congestive heart failure.
- The lungs of an overweight dog labor to function properly which leads to difficulty in breathing.
- Because fat is a good insulator, your overweight dog may feel well clad in wintering conditions but the heat wave of the summer will make her life miserable. Excess fat reduces the capacity of your dog to regulate her body temperature.
- Fat is stored in liver and an overweight dog will have extra fat stored in the liver. This may lead to a decreased liver function.
- Compared to dogs at optimum weight, overweight dogs have more problems when it comes to giving birth.
- Digestive disorders – the likelihood of developing constipation is greatly increased.
- With an overweight dog, the excess weight means a drop in resistance to bacterial and viral infections i.e. decreased immune functions.
- Skin and hair coat problem.
- The exact connection between cancer and obesity is not known but studies have shown that dogs suffering from obesity have a high risk of cancer, particularly urinary cancer.
- A drop in the quality and length of life.
Now that we know the health risks associated with dogs suffering from obesity or overweight, it is time to get to the guts of how to help our dogs from these health risks.
Just because you dog does not look overtly obese does not means she is not overweight and on her way to being obese. Therefore to be on the safe side you should occasionally check out on the fat accumulation of your dog.
Here are the steps to follow in order to check if your dog is gathering fat:
- To check if your dog is quietly adding the fat, try to feel the spine and ribs of your dog. Ideally you should be able to feel just a layer of fat between the skin and the spine or ribs and if you struggle to locate the rib cage then your dog is overweight.
- Get the weight of your dog. The easiest way to do this is to first find out your own weight on a scale then while carrying your dog, check your combined weight on a scale after which you should now get the difference by subtracting your weight from the combined weight of yourself and your dog to get the weight of your dog.
- Now compare the weight of dog’s breed against the chart of an ideal weight range for your dog breed.
In 2011 a study found that about 53% of dogs are either overweight or obese and a different study suggests that 45% of dogs in the U.S. are either obese or overweight. These are damning statistics so make sure that if your dog is not in the number, it is not on the path to add to the figures.
Dogs with tendency to be overweight: Dog breed issue
Some dog breeds (including some small breed) have a tendency to be obese while some other breeds such as German Shepherds, Greyhounds and Yorkshire Terriers are naturally slim. Breeds with a tendency to be obese are:
- Cairn Terriers
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
- Scottish Terriers
- Cocker Spaniels
- Basset Hounds
- Golden Retrievers
- Saint Bernard
- Bernese Mountain Dogs
Besides genetic reasons, your dog may be suffering from overweight because you are overindulging her with too much treats and human food or outright poor diet. This non genetic reason is heavily responsible for dogs becoming over weight and this is where diet dog food becomes very important.
The frequency and food portions also play a part in your dog being overweight or obese.
The truth is that as a dog owner you can hardly be certain of the safety and the quality of the commercially produced dog food; if you must bring up your dog in a healthy way then you must learn how to prepare healthy dog food.
Despite all the regulations meant to control the quality of the production of dog food, it is still possible for just about anyone to get into the business of dog food production without adequate knowledge of dog nutrition.