Obesity In Dogs: A Heavy Health Risk

By Guest Writer, Jordan Walker

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Your dog is so fat its tail is so heavy it can’t even wag. Your dog is so fat you gain a liter of free organic oil when it cries. Your dog is so fat your visitors think you have an elephant for a pet with its chubby paw partly seen behind the couch. You think these are funny? How about this? Your dog is so fat you should be preparing for its funeral as early as now. Now that is not a joke. Fat humans and animals- it’s not funny at all. You may be able to get your pet as a star in a pet comedy show. But that fame will surely be short-lived if you don’t start really taking care of it soon. How dangerous is obesity really for pet dogs?

Health Problems Associated with Obese Dogs

The reason why people are discouraged from putting on weight is not just because it will make them look a less sexy. It’s basically for health purposes. The common health problems that you can experience as a human with weight problems is also the same for that of a pet dog. Examples of these are:

1. Diabetes. Eating a lot and putting on more weight will have the risk of your pet developing the condition called diabetes mellitus. Common symptoms would include feeling hungry most of the time and increased need to drink water.

2. Circulatory problems. With fat deposited all over the body of your pet dog, expect that this too will its circulatory organs compromised. Its heart could be coated with fat, or this could be working more than that of a dog with an ideal weight.

3. Inactivity. You won’t be seeing your pet moving about the house. While this could be easier on you since you won’t need to worry if this decides to tear up the living room, your dog still needs to exercise for better health.

4. Liver problems. Fat is also stored in your pet’s liver. If your pet is on the heavier side, then its liver could end up storing more than the average rate, resulting to a condition called hepatic lipodosis. This health condition can lead to toxin buildup or depression.

5. Skin disorders. Obese dogs will have folds on their skin. Since pet owners do not really bathe dogs on a daily basis, the folds could accumulate unwanted dirt or some excess bodily oil. This will attract unwanted bacteria, contributing to poor skin and hair condition. No use auditioning for a pet shampoo commercial now.

6. Prone to sickness. Many of its internal organs will be compromised, and this, in turn, will result to weakened immune system. Your pet will be susceptible to viral and bacterial infection.

7. Early death. Carrying the weight around is also like your dog carrying a death sign with it. It’s tied with many dangerous health diseases such as the ones mentioned above. 

Risk Factors to Take Note Of

Now, your pet seems like a healthy dog as far as you can see. But to help prevent it from possible problems in the future, consider these risk factors that make pet dogs more susceptible to developing obesity:

1. Age of pet. Older pets are inclined to be less active, increasing the risk of obesity.

2. It’s breed. Some dog breeds are prone to being overweight. Examples of these are Golden retriever, dachshund, bulldog, and German shepherd.

3. Neutering. Neutered pets are said to tip the scale even though this is said to protect pets from other types of illnesses.

4. Gender. Obesity in dogs is more common in females than in males.

5. Your own eating habits. Pet dogs could eat based on how its owner eats. 

What You Can Do About It

Even if it’s overweight now, your pet does not have to live with obesity any longer. Here are some ways to help you solve the problem.

1. Exercise your dog. Your dog may have a hard time getting up on its four legs, but a walk outside is so refreshing even fat dogs won’t be able to resist them. Take it out on a leash and walk around the neighborhood, increasing the length of time as it gets used to it. To encourage play even further even when inside the house, buy your pet dog some interactive toys. You can also switch up activities to prevent your pet dog from getting bored with its exercise routine. Instead of the regular walk, why not teach it to fetch something to keep its muscles working?

2. Choose healthier options. Change your shopping list. Time to choose healthier foods for your dog. Instead of dried pet foods that are loaded with preservatives and unwanted chemicals, serve fresh foods instead. The fat from that pork chop is not for the pooch either so stop feeding it unhealthy leftovers.

3. Practice restraint. And by all means, never fall trap into the “I’m so hungry, I’m going to die now” look. Adhere to feeding dog its ideal food intake and stick to eat.

4. Eat healthy yourself. It’s good for you and your pet. Ditch the fat-laden foods and prepare small portions for yourself if it’s not yet your pet’s time to eat dinner. This will prevent you from turning your pet dog into an invincible food eating machine.

5. Work with your vet. There are some health issues that can make dog suffer from weight problems. If proper diet and exercise are not working for your pet dog, time to visit your vet. You may need to address its underlying cause instead of the dog obesity per se.

Final Thoughts

You say you love your pet dog? Then stop now with the excessive treats. Say no to dog obesity and feed it the right kinds of foods. And while you are at it, include some muscle workout for it too. A dog is meant to be cared for by its human companion and not meant to be a health victim. Obesity- it kills. Don’t let it happen to your own dog.

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Jordan Walker

Author: Jordan Walker is the lead content curator for Coops And Cages as well as a couple of other pet related blogs. His passion for animals is only matched by his love for 'attempting' to play the guitar. If you would like to catch him, you can via Google+ or Twitter: @CoopsAndCages