All of us have seen a dog waddling on the streets or in the park and the first thought that comes to mind is whether or not the dog is cute or to get mad at the owner for negligence.
Truth is, most owners nowadays feed their dogs with more food than the dog can handle, and include snacks and treats in between meals. The end result is an overweight dog.
A dog that is overweight has increased chances of health problems. First being overweight increases the chances of the dog developing liver disease, urinary stones, and diabetes. In addition, extra weight makes the dog’s heart beat harder than it should and makes it hard for her to breathe.
If the dog has hereditary problems such as hip dysplasia and slipped kneecaps extra weight just makes these problems more pronounced.
Is my dog overweight?
There is a thin line between a well-fed dog and an overweight one. A dog should have a little body fat without being overweight. She should not be too thin that she looks sickly and underfed all in the name of keeping the right weight.
A dog that is fed with the proper food portions and is taken out for regular exercise should have a little padding so that when you touch her around the ribs you can feel the ribs but the ribs are not poking you; there should be a little padding between your fingers and her ribs. She should also have an indentation on her flank from an aerial view.
If your dog is already overweight don’t despair. There are things you can do to reduce her weight to a healthy number. First limit the amount of food you feed her. Eliminate any snacks and treats you give her between meals, including the ones you give her at the dinner table.
Also increase the amount if exercise such that if usually she goes for a walk thrice a week you take her five times a week. You could also increase the intensity of her exercise. Make sure you increase intensity gradually to avoid hurting a dog that’s not used to exercising.