Obesity Rampant in Canine World – Is Your Dog Part of the Fatter Generation?
When 8-year-old Sampson the black lab lumbered into an Animal Aid shelter in Australia, the staff couldn’t believe their eyes. His eyes were bloodshot due to the fat that had accumulated around his head, he had high blood pressure, and he weighed a deplorable 187 pounds, which was twice the normal weight he should have been.
Doctors said that a diet of junk food and fatty treats caused the tremendous weight and would have eventually killed this Labrador retriever had they not stepped in to put Sampson on a special exercise and weight loss diet.
Overweight Dogs Are Not Rare
Sadly, scenes like this are becoming more common as veterinarians worldwide estimate that nearly half of the dogs they see are overweight. Part of the problem is that the only around 17 percent of the owners are in agreement with their pet’s doctor in believing their dog is in danger from their obesity.
Obesity in dogs is just as bad for them as it is for humans. It is connected with problems like heart disease, breathing issues, liver problems, diabetes, musculoskeletal diseases, stomach problems, as well as putting stress on the dog’s joints, tendons and skeleton. It also causes dogs to have a shortened lifespan, as well as have problems giving birth, less tolerance to heat, and being more likely to succumb to various diseases or even death.
According to a study by Nestle Purina done in 2004, dogs who maintained their ideal weight were found to live 15 percent longer than dogs that were overweight. That means if we feed our furry friends a better diet, give less treats and make sure they get daily walks and exercise, we could have them for about two years longer! That should be an incentive for owners to take heed when it comes to dog obesity.
How To Tell if Your Dog is Fat
It is vital for dog owners to help their pets maintain a healthy weight, but what’s the best way to tell if your furry friend is at his ideal weight? The only real way to know is to weigh your dog and talk to your veterinarian to be sure, but the following tests are quick ways to give you a pretty good idea if your dog is overweight or not:
The Rib Cage Test
Have your dog stand up and then slide your finger across his ribcage. If you can easily feel the outline of each of your dog’s ribs with just a small amount of pressure, then your dog is likely not overweight. If you dog is obese, then you won’t be able to feel his ribs at all, and if you can see the dog’s ribcage without feeling for it, then he is too skinny.
The Hourglass Test
With your dog standing up, take a good look at his back from above and see if you can tell if the dog’s body gets narrower at the waistline and looks like an hourglass. If you can’t see any sort of indentation in your dog’s waistline, then it’s possible your dog weighs too much.
For this next test, look at your dog from a side view while he is standing while you sit beside him. See if his stomach looks tucked up behind the ribcage. If there is no curve in the body, then it’s likely your dog is too fat.
You are your dog’s provider and his protector and can make a difference in ensuring that they are healthy and at the right weight for their breed. To do this you need to only feed a good quality dog food in the proper proportions and only give limited doggie treats or other foods. Make sure they get walks every day and visit your veterinarian for regular checkups.
Overweight dogs are not happy or healthy dogs. Do the right thing and make sure your dog doesn’t join the nearly 50 percent of the ranks of overweight or obese dogs.