Part II – Discover The Facts About Your Overweight Dog
This is the continuation of the article “Part I – Discover The Facts About Your Overweight Dog”. The facts provided in Part II will continue to give you important information about helping your beloved pet maintain the proper weight level for maximum enjoyment of a healthy lifestyle with you.
Before getting to the new facts let’s quickly summarize the facts you learned in Part I.
FACT 1: You, the owner, are primarily responsible for your “best friend” being obese.
Most dog owners do over feed their pet by 20% or more.
FACT 2: Table scrapes are not the right kind of food for your favorite beloved canine.
Most table scrapes contain an inordinate high calorie count, because of large amounts of fat, starches and sugar.
FACT 3: The unburned calories will be absorbed into your pet’s body and turned into “fat”.
Keeping your dog active will help burn up the additional calories brought on by table scrapes.
It’s now time to take a look at additional facts which will help you keep your K-9 at the proper weight level.
FACT 4: Your local veterinarian should be consulted before putting your dog on a diet.
The local vet will be able to determine if your pet is indeed over weight. Canines in one breed, e.g. Labs, just as humans, have different shaped skeletons. Although the Labrador Retriever breed will have the basic characteristics noted in all Labradors, one may have a heavy boned skeleton while another one won’t have the same size bones and density.
This is turn can cause a major difference in the “perfect weight” of the same size Labs. Whereas one that weighs 90 pounds with large bone density, is a perfect weight and the one with less bone density that weighs 90 lbs. would be considered overweight.
The expert advice of your vet will quickly determine this for you.
FACT 5: Certain breeds of dogs are predisposed to being overweight.
Studies have shown that genetics, which contribute to forming fat in lab rats also, may play the same role in canines.
Unfortunately, there are different breeds of K-9’s which have a propensity to become overweight because of genes. Just a few of these breeds are, Collies, Bassett Hounds, Shelties, Labrador Retriever, Dachshunds, Cockers and others. Please understand this doesn’t mean every dog, in the breeds mentioned, is going to get fat. However, it does mean you should be on guard for the possibility, if your dog is one of these breeds, may be one of the ones affected because of genetic inheritance. Once again a call to your vet will quickly reveal if the breed you own is predisposed to obesity.
FACT 6: Age is a factor in overweight dogs.
A great many dogs began to put on weight starting around the age of two years. This is generally around the age where they begin to mature and become somewhat less active. You will see this tendency to gain weight right on up into the twelve year range. As the dog becomes older this “weight gain” tends to level off and in fact will decline with proper diet and exercise.
FACT 7: Medications can contribute to obesity in your pet.
Just as in humans, meds “man’s best friend” is on, may well increase their appetite and even cut down on the metabolic rate. Thus the meds may lead to eating a lot more food and depressing the burning off of calories through the natural process of converting it to energy. Again keeping your vet advised as to your pet’s weight gain, may result in a change of the meds to help decrease the added pounds.
These facts in Part I and Part II are just a sampling of the information you need to know to help your overweight dog. Your local veterinarian will have additional information that will help you keep your dog healthy and give you and “Fido” many years of companionship together.
Frequently Asked Questions About Overweight Dogs:
1. Will having my dog fixed (neutered/spayed) cause my dog to get fat?
No. Having your dog fixed is not the cause of your pooch getting fat. The real cause is that most dog lovers don’t realize that their dogs’ energy requirements will be less and continue to feed them the same amount of food as they did before they had them fixed.
2. What is the easiest way to tell if my dog is overweight?
Simply take your hands and run them along the rib cage of your dog. You should be able to count or feel the ribs quite easily. If the ribs feel as if they are padded and cushioned more than likely your pooch is overweight.
Another quick way is to look at your dog from the top, side and underside of the animal. There should be a clear definition of a “waist line” from the bottom rib to the beginning of the hip bone. If not again your favorite little critter may be headed for or already be obese.
3. Do I have to use a special diet to reduce my dog’s weight?
Not necessarily. If the dog is not way over its’ best weight, a decrease in the amount of the right food you provide it will suffice to help the canine lose the extra pounds. However, if the dog is very obese then a “special reduction diet” may be the best course of action.
Your local vet will be the one to guide you as to which is the right course of action, to ensure your beloved pooch is healthy and happy.