Obesity is a problem not only for modern people, but also for dogs. According to statistics, 35 – 40% of dogs suffer from excess weight.
Due to over-feeding, an unbalanced diet with an excess of delicious food from the master’s table and insufficient walking, the pet inevitably gains excessive weight. He himself becomes passive, and will prefer another treat to games and walks.
Overweight is dangerous for animals. It is important to make a balanced diet from puppyhood and stick to it. It is much easier to prevent obesity than to get rid of it.
Why the dog got better: looking for the root of the problem
Before you fight with extra pounds, you need to find the reason why the dog has plumped up. Further weight loss tactics depend on it.
Most often, obesity occurs due to 3 factors:
- Overeating. Many owners overfeed their pets. They put food in a bowl “by eye”, feed the animal with treats and from the table.
- An unbalanced diet. Even if an animal eats little, it does not mean that it eats properly. Most people do not adhere to the culture of healthy eating themselves, and even more so do not observe it for pets. They feed the dogs at random: with what they eat themselves or with cheap industrial feed. An incorrect diet leads to problems with the gastrointestinal tract, metabolism and weight gain.
- Insufficient physical activity. Each dog should walk and play for at least 1 – 1.5 hours every day. But in modern conditions, when the owners are torn between work and family, there is little time for a pet. Often they take their pet out on the street only to send a natural need.
Also, excess weight appears due to systemic pathologies and psychological abnormalities:
- Hormonal failure. Disorders of the thyroid and adrenal glands slow down metabolism.
- Worm infestation. Some parasites secrete toxins that contribute not to weight loss, but to weight gain.
- Stress. Moving, changing the owner, a bad atmosphere in the family affect the mental well-being of the dog. She, like a person, can pick up a bad mood.
- What if the food runs out? Another stressful factor. It is inherent in dogs that used to be homeless or starved for a long time. They are trying to eat ahead of time, because there may not be food tomorrow.
A significant role is played by the hereditary and pedigree factor.
So, if the puppy’s parents were overweight, he easily gains and hardly loses weight.
Also, some dog breeds are prone to obesity: all Molossians, spaniels, dachshunds, lapdogs, labradors, pugs, Pekingese, collies, beagles.
How to determine obesity
It is officially considered that a dog whose weight exceeds the norm of the breed standard by 15% is overweight. And if the indicator reaches 30%– it is a sign of obesity.
The owners can independently determine the completeness of the following symptoms:
- when walking and running, the dog does not see the last 2 ribs, they are difficult to feel;
- the so-called “duck walk” appears – waddling;
- the pet has shortness of breath after a little activity;
- the animal is sedentary, lies down to rest during a walk, refuses to play;
- the stomach becomes swollen, tight, and the back sags;
- visually, the paws shorten and thicken.
Completeness is easily diagnosed by eye. But often the owners ignore the problem, believing that the “fat man” looks cute.
Or it seems to them that a couple of pounds gained is not a disaster yet. Moreover, a pair can be understood as a two-digit number.
This is a dangerous position. You need to get rid of excess weight as quickly as possible. The longer the treatment is postponed, the more difficult it will be to cope with the situation.
How to lose extra pounds: weight loss recommendations
It doesn’t matter who needs to get rid of excess weight – a person or a dog. Weight loss is always based on 2 pillars: diet and physical activity.
It is necessary to fight with excessive weight consistently. The faster the dog will lose pounds, the faster they will gain. It is important not so much to lose weight as to retain and consolidate the results.
Adhere to the following main recommendations:
- Consultation with a veterinarian. The first thing to do is to consult a doctor. He will establish the exact reason why the dog recovered and identify concomitant pathologies. Also, the specialist will make the optimal diet and exercise schedule for a particular animal.
- Do not starve. Insufficient nutrition is even worse than excess. It will lead to problems with the digestive organs, and after the cancellation of a strict diet, the pet will recover even more.
- Increase physical activity gradually. You can’t expect a fat bulldog to run as briskly as that one-year-old lean Cocker spaniel. The loads should not be excessive, they are strengthened little by little.
- Remember everything. This is a little trick that people who lose weight usually use. You need to record everything that the dog eats in a day. Often the owners take into account only the main feeding, forgetting about treats and snacks, and do not understand where the extra pounds come from.
If a bitch lives in the house, it’s worth checking if she’s pregnant. It is unacceptable to restrict food to a dog that bears or feeds puppies.
Regardless of whether the pet eats natural food or ready-made food, it is necessary to reduce the amount of food and adhere to a fractional diet. The total volume is reduced by 10-15%.
They feed several times a day: large dogs – 3 times a day, small ones – 4. A single meal is enough for elderly animals – so the digestive organs will have time to rest.
If the pet is on a natural frame, it is necessary to give:
- as many vegetables and fruits as possible;
- lean meat – veal, turkey, chicken, rabbit;
- sea boiled fish without seeds – it is less caloric than meat and contains many useful elements;
- cereals – buckwheat and oatmeal, boiled in water without oil and salt;
- low-fat dairy products – with the exception of cheese.
It is forbidden to feed:
- food for people – sweets, pastries, sausages, marinades;
- fatty meats – lamb, pork, duck;
- rice and potatoes – contain a large amount of carbohydrates and starch.
If the animal feeds on “drying”, it is necessary to choose dietary food. It is undesirable to take products in which the amount of meat has simply been reduced and the proportion of cereals and vegetables has increased.
Preference is given to lines with special processing of meat ingredients, after which proteins and fats are absorbed better and faster.
Dry food is given slightly less than the amount indicated on the package. It should be borne in mind that the manufacturer’s values are averaged, and each dog has an individual metabolism. For some, the recommended volume is not enough, for others – a lot.
The loads increase gradually, focusing on the general well-being of the pet, its habitual activity and the presence of diseases. They also take into account breed characteristics: for example, a St. Bernard will never run as briskly as a hound.
With severe obesity, they begin with hiking. Their time is increased by 10-15 minutes every week. When the dog calmly endures the “marathon”, they move on to games: running, jumping, aports, taking obstacles.
Swimming is a great option. It works out all the muscles, and because of the water, the load on the joints is minimal.
Classes with a dog handler will not be superfluous. A great solution is sports for dogs. It can be agility, freestyle, frisbee, flyball, canicross.
The treatment of obesity in dogs in the clinic consists in the elimination of provoking pathologies: diseases of the digestive system, hormonal disorders and others.
In rare cases, special medications are prescribed for weight loss. For example, Dirlotapide (Slentrol). They reduce the feeling of hunger. Such medications are used only as prescribed by a doctor.
But it is better to do without them at all – accurate clinical studies have not been conducted. And appetite will normalize itself over time if you constantly follow a diet.
Consequences of overweight in dogs
Obesity affects all organs and systems of the body. Especially on:
- Heart. It pumps a large volume of blood, which increases the number of contractions and provokes tachycardia.
- Vessels. Often, “fatties” have high blood pressure and cholesterol levels – this threatens to blockage veins, arteries, capillaries and worsen blood flow.
- Digestive organs. The most dangerous is not subcutaneous, but visceral fat. It accumulates around the internal organs and disrupts their work. In obese dogs, first of all, the liver and pancreas suffer. They work in an enhanced mode, and when they are overloaded, jaundice, pancreatitis, diabetes mellitus occur.
- Joints and bones. Due to excess weight, they wear out faster. Osteochondrosis, arthritis, arthrosis, dysplasia often develop.
Also, overweight pets get tired faster, are more susceptible to heat and sunstrokes, they have problems with the respiratory system.
Sometimes urinary incontinence appears due to muscle weakness. In addition, males have decreased sexual desire, and females have irregular estrus or no estrus at all.
Overweight should be taken seriously. This disease shortens the pet’s life span by 1.5 – 2 years. And numerous diseases and difficulties in moving deprive the dog of the daily joys of life.
The best option is to prevent obesity in dogs. It consists in a proper, balanced diet and regular physical activity. Also, the animal is examined at least once every six months by a veterinarian in order to identify concomitant diseases in time.