Your dog is overweight? - LUV My dogs

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Monday, March 31, 2014

Your dog is overweight?

  Obesity is a nutritional disease which is defined by an excess of body fat. Dogs that are over nourished, lack the ability to exercise, or that have a tendency to retain weight are the most at risk for becoming obese. Obesity can result in serious adverse health effects, such as reducing the lifespan, even if your dog is only moderately obese. Multiple areas of the body are affected by excess body fat, including the bones and joints, the digestive organs, and the organs responsible for breathing capacity.
   Obesity is common in dogs of all ages, but it usually occurs in middle-aged dogs, and generally in those that are between the ages of 5 and 10. Neutered and indoor dogs also tend to have a higher risk of becoming obese.
With 35 million or 45 percent of American dogs overweight or obese, putting your pooch on a diet might just be on the cards. Do you know if your dog needs to lose weight or are you still calling it "puppy fat"? While owners are busy spoiling their canine friends with treats, extra food, and cookies as a show of love, the reality is that an overweight dog is neither happy nor healthy, and if your dog falls into this category, it's time to fix it, immediately. 

How To Know If Your Dog Is Obese?
  If you’re not sure, pat your hands along your dog’s sides from head to tail. In a healthy-weight dog, you should be able to just feel the ribs. Also, take a look at your dog from the side. Most dogs should have a slightly “tucked up” profile. If all you feel are fat pads on your dog’s sides, or if his side profile is more sausage-like than sleek, chances are your friend may need to shed a few.
  The first thing you should do is get your vet involved. Take your dog for a checkup as there are underlying conditions that can contribute to obesity, including diabetes, Cushing’s disease and hypothyroidism. Have your veterinarian determine your dog’s current and ideal body weight and then tell you how many calories your dog can eat each day in order to reach that ideal weight. Your goal should be to work toward that ideal weight over a several-month period.


Symptoms
  •  Weight gain
  • Excess body fat
  • The inability (or unwillingness) to exercise
  • An above-ideal score in a body condition assessment.
Causes

  There are several causes of obesity. It is mosty commonly caused by an imbalance between the energy intake and its usage -- eating more than the dog can possibly expend. Obesity also becomes more common in old age because of the normal decrease in a dog's ability to exercise. Unhealthy eating habits, such as high-calorie foods, an alternating diet, and frequent treats can also bring on this condition.


How To Feed For Good Health
  Dogs should not be fed “free choice” as they tend to eat when bored instead of when hungry -- which contributes to ever-expanding canine waistlines. Dogs should be fed two to four times each day, and all food portions should be measured exactly with a standard measuring cup.
  Dog food label recommendations must be used cautiously. These guidelines are generic and most likely represent overfeeding for many U.S. dogs. Dogs must be fed according to their ideal body weight -- not their current weight if they are obese. If your dog is even mildly overweight, feeding according to the recommendations found on the food bag will result in continued weight gains.
  Increasing your dog's physical activity level is vital for successful treatment. The most common suggestions for dogs are leash walking for at least 15 minutes, twice a day, and playing games such as fetch.

Living and Management
  The follow-up treatment for obesity includes communicating regularly with your veterinarian about the weight reduction program, monthly monitoring of your dog's weight, and establishing a life-time weight maintenance program once your dog's ideal body condition score has been achieved. With a firm commitment to your dog's health and weight, you will feel confident that your dog is eating healthy and feeling its best.
  Eating right and being physically active aren’t just a “diet” for your dog -- they are keys to a healthy lifestyle and will reduce your dog’s risk of chronic disease and increase his chance for a longer life.

                               Warnings!
  • Too much strenuous exercise can be a hazard for your dog. Talk with your vet about how much exercise your dog should be getting.
  • If you make exercising the dog a task for your kids, make sure that they know how to properly walk a dog, help her when she is hurt, etc. Make sure they bring water for the dog. Also, if you have a young child, always have an adult accompany them on walks to avoid danger.
  • Always research foods before giving them as treats to your dogs. For example, grapes, raisins, chocolate, and onions can be very toxic to dogs.
  • Never restrict access to water; it should always be clean and freely available unless a vet requires otherwise.
  • A dog that is left outside during winter needs double the usual amount of high quality dog food. Talk to your vet about any issues this might cause if you have an overweight outside dog.

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