Overview of the dog's body condition.

Obesity in dogs is a growing problem in Western countries. In fact, it is estimated that about half of all dogs in this part of the world are overweight. This is not very good for overall health, and an overweight dog may be at greater risk of developing various disorders and diseases. A lazy dog that is panting and not getting the exercise it wants is not a happy dog. Read more to learn about obesity in dogs and what you as an owner can do to maintain a healthy weight in your furry family member!

Obesity in dogs and health challenges 

A dog that is overweight is more likely to encounter health challenges and develop lifestyle diseases. So, just like humans, obesity can have a negative impact on overall health. Dogs are greatly affected by their owners' lifestyles, and their bodies are not designed to live the same life as us. This is especially true in today's sedentary, car-driving and indoor life. You may be able to go to the gym whenever you want, but your dog is, after all, dependent on you for company. So when we talk about obesity as a problem, we're not talking about the dog's appearance or aesthetics, but health and quality of life. 

How overweight and obesity affect the dog's body 

Obesity can lead to disease and shorten a dog's lifespan. Obesity is actually considered a chronic disease and has a number of negative ripple effects on the dog's physique. An abundance of fat cells leads to the secretion of substances that affect the rest of the bodily system, leading to a kind of chronic inflammatory state in the body. This in turn leads to an increased incidence of various diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure, insulin resistance, kidney problems, joint pain, skin diseases and weakened immune system. Overweight dogs may also experience difficulty breathing and increased risk of complications during anesthesia.

Why has the dog become overweight? 

When a dog is in a calorie surplus, meaning that it consumes more kilocalories than it burns, the surplus is stored as fat. This means that the dog gets a combination of too little physical activity and exercise, and too much food and treats. Some dogs can also become overweight as a result of underlying health reasons. Therefore, it's a good idea to take your dog for a veterinary check-up if it has a high percentage of body fat. Then you will also be able to get guidance and personalized dietary advice to help your four-legged friend lose weight. You and Fido are welcome to come to our clinic for a consultation if you suspect that weight reduction is needed..

How to know if your dog is overweight

Overview of the dog's body condition.

The ideal weight of a dog will vary depending on breed, size and activity level. To determine whether a dog is overweight or not, it is therefore best to feel around. In a healthy and healthy companion of ideal weight, you will usually be able to feel the ribs quite easily. As a rule, healthy dogs also have a defined waist. If the dog moves towards the obese side, it becomes more difficult to feel the ribs and it usually has a visible layer of fat. With obesity, the dog will have visible jowls and a large belly. 

Take a look at the form above to get a basic overview. To monitor the weight and notice any changes, it's a good idea to weigh your dog regularly. If you are unsure about your dog's body condition, you may be able to get help with the assessment from an experienced breeder or visit our clinic and talk to one of our veterinarians or animal nurses. 

What can you as an owner do about obesity in dogs?

The recipe for weight loss is quite simple, and is familiar to most people. Less food (read: fewer calories) and more exercise. For a dog that needs to lose weight diet food in smaller portion sizes is a good starting point. You should also reduce treats and snacksas these can quickly make a difference to the total calorie intake for the day. It can also be nice to have an extra walk if the dog enjoys it, and you can take the initiative for active play and fun.

We know that it can be hard to resist the sugar-sweet doe eyes of the furry one, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the dog is hungry and in need of food. Often begging dogs do this out of habit. Try to stick to the recommended amount of food, and remember that you're not doing your dog any favors by letting it live an overweight life!

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Elisabeth is a veterinarian and authorized ophthalmologist with specialization in eye surgery, as well as further education in internal medicine, general surgery, oral surgery and ultrasound from the European School for Advanced Veterinary Studies in Toulouse.