Reports indicate that between 30% and 60% of all dogs are overweight, so it is essential we keep our pets happy and healthy. One of the most serious findings in obesity studies that have been proven to be related to being overweight in both humans and dogs is a reduced lifespan! Being overweight can cause some severe problems for your dog. Keeping your dog trim and in shape can mean fewer vet visits and an overall improvement in the quality of life. Overweight dogs may become more irritable due to being hot, in pain or just uncomfortable.
When is a dog considered to be overweight?
Veterinarians often use a 9-point scoring chart to evaluate the body condition of dogs. A point value of 1 means the dog is skinny to the point of emaciation, whereas a score of 9 means the dog is grossly overweight/obese. 4/9 or 5/9 is usually ideal bodyweight. Most owners do not realize their dogs are overweight, which is bad news for the health of many dogs. Examine your dog’s ribs! Gently press down on your dog’s rib cage. For an ideal BCS, you should feel a thin layer of fat covering the ribs, allowing you to feel and see the ribs without much trouble. If you feel a thick layer of fat and have to press down hard to feel the ribs, then your dog is likely overweight or obese. Check for a visible waistline and also look for a tuck up in the abdomen area.
Are some breeds prone to obesity?
Certain breeds are more predisposed to weight gain and need to be monitored more closely. These include Labrador Retrievers, Cocker Spaniels, Beagles to name a few. However, any breed or crossbreed may have a tendency to gain weight given the opportunity.
Why should my dog have a weight loss consultation at the clinic?
A weight loss program designed by a veterinarian for a dog’s individual needs is the ideal approach to weight loss for your pet. Typically, this weight loss is achieved by a diet and exercise plan. Feeding dogs smaller meals often help them burn calories more efficiently. We will evaluate your dog’s BCS and determine how many calories he/she needs daily, to achieve a slow, steady weight loss. Many of our Veterinary labelled weight loss diets, come recommended after many studies have been performed, with excellent results. You will be given all the tools you need to help Fido become a lean, fit, healthy dog again.