Is your dog fat? Unfortunately, many of our beloved pets are, like their human counterparts, unhealthily overweight.
If your dog is fat, chances are that you could lose a few pounds yourself, because a fat dog doesn’t just happen from over-feeding – it’s also because of under-exercising.
Are You Making Your Dog Fat?
Chances are that if your dog is overweight, it means that you’re not giving your best friend enough daily exercise. Have you taken into consideration the real exercise needs of your dog? Is your best friend naturally energetic, are they a working class of dog, or a breed that requires little exercise to stay healthy?
All dogs are amazing athletes who need to move to be healthy. Interestingly enough, us humans also need to move to be healthy which means for all us dog lovers, that we already have everything we need to shed some excess poundage. Your dog is there, ready and waiting to go walking and help you both accomplish a healthy weight.
How Can You Tell if Fido is Fat?
There’s a simple test you can do to determine whether your dog is overweight and whether he or she needs to shed a few pounds. All you need to do is feel around their ribs and spine. If you are unable to easily locate both with only a thin layer of fat between the skin and bones, you have an overweight dog.
Fat Like Us Humans
Sadly, our dogs are following in our footsteps as humanity rushes down that unhealthy path of being overweight or obese.
Make sure you know what your dogs optimal weight will be once he or she reaches maturity, and check their weight regularly, because for a dog, just 15% above that ideal weight means your dog is not just fat, it’s obese. Anything up to a 15% increase means your dog is overweight, and sadly, according to a 2011 study, more than half of our best friends (53%) are overweight or obese.
Of course this is a direct reflection on how little we humans are getting out there to exercise with our dogs, because generally speaking, if Fido or Fifi is overweight, so are you.
Is It Genetic?
While some dog breeds do tend to gain weight more easily, this just means that these breeds require much more exercise in order maintain a healthy weight, and humans should take this into consideration when deciding to share their homes with these breeds. Simply because a certain breed may have tendencies to gain weight more quickly than others, is not a good excuse for allowing this to happen because you are ultimately responsible for making your dog fat.
Which Breeds Can Be Prone to Obesity?
While we know that some breeds are known for being typically slim, such as Yorkshire Terriers, Greyhounds, Whippets, and German Shepherds, there are other breeds that can be prone to obesity, including Cairn Terriers, Bulldogs, Dachshunds, Scottish Terriers, Spaniels, Beagles, Basset Hounds, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Shar-Peis, Rottweilers, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Newfoundlands and St. Bernards.
If you share your home with one of the breeds that may have a tendency to be overweight or obese, you need to get out there and exercise with your best friend that much more often and/or strenuously. You’ll both be healthier for it.
Are You Overindulging Your Dog?
Many owners, for many reasons may be overindulging their dogs by over-feeding them at meal times, or more likely with treats, snacks or sharing unhealthy people food and these habits have created many a fat dog.
You’ve heard the saying, “Food is love” and many people over-feed their dogs because they believe that it makes them happy. Unfortunately, many of our fur friends just don’t have any natural portion control, are very practiced and fixated on food and appearing to be “starved” all the time, and will literally eat themselves to death if you let them.
Are You Feeding the Right Portions?
It’s important to make sure that you know the correct serving size of food for your dog so that he or she does not become overweight in the first place, or if this has already happened, to know how to exercise the right portion control to help your best friend shed the extra poundage. You need to take into consideration your dog’s age and metabolism, and how much your dog is exercising, not just what it says to feed on the label, because feeding the suggested amount when your dog doesn’t get proper or enough exercise will make your dog fat.
Obesity Related Problems
Just as being obese can seriously affect our human health, obesity can seriously affect our dog’s health in much the same ways. When your dog is overweight, he or she could suffer from diabetes mellitus, joint damage, bone and ligament damage, heart disease, high blood pressure, eye problems, difficulty breathing, decreased stamina, decreased liver function, digestive disorders, skin and coat problems, increased risk of cancer, reproductive problems and surgical and anesthetic risk.
Just as being overweight and/or obese will shorten our human lives, there is absolutely no doubt that obesity can and will have adverse effects on your best friend’s quality and length of life.
What Causes Dog Obesity?
Of course, just like us humans, the primary causes of a fat dog is simply feeding them too much food and/or the wrong kind of food, combined with a sedentary lifestyle without the exercise they need to be healthy.
If your dog is taking in more calories than he or she are burning up through their daily exercise, they will be overweight.
Something we humans tend to forget as our dogs grow older is that, like us humans, they usually become less active, which means that we need to pay attention and adjust their food intake appropriately so that they can live out their more senior years not as a fat dog, but as a healthy older dog.
Also, when your dog is spayed or neutered, this will also affect their metabolism by slowing it down, which means that they then will require fewer calories to maintain a healthy weight.
Get Moving – Be Healthy
If you’ve been noticing that your best fur friend is getting a little chunky, take a good look at yourself and how sedentary your lifestyle may have become because a fat dog usually means a fat human.
Don’t be cruel to your best friend by shortening their life because you may have allowed him or her to be an unhealthy weight.
You have a dog, which means you have the perfect excuse for keeping both yourself and your dog healthy and fit. Get out there and get moving.
– Asia – Dog Whispering for 40+ years
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