Big on Love: How Your Dog's Extra Pounds Negatively Impact Your Pet's Health

Pets & Animals Blog

The United States is experiencing an obesity epidemic, and people are not the only ones affected. Over half of all dogs in America are overweight or obese. Unfortunately, those extra pounds increase your pet's chances of developing preventable health problems.

Visualizing What Being Overweight Means For Your Pet

Most people do not realize that they are sabotaging their dogs' healthy weight. For example, feeding your 20-pound pooch a bite-sized one ounce cube of cheese is the equivalent of you scarfing down one and a half hamburgers! As you can see, this is hardly a diet-friendly afternoon snack. If you own a six pound Chihuahua, every extra pound that your pet gains is equal to about 24 to 28 extra pounds on an American adult.

The best way to determine if your pet is overweight is by looking down on your pet and observing your dog's figure. You should be able to feel your dog's ribs, but not see them. If you cannot feel your dog's ribs, your pet has a weight issue.

Health Problems Related to Extra Weight

A few extra pounds may not impact your dog's self image, but this extra weight will certainly impact your dog's health. Many of the same health risks that overweight humans face also affect overweight dogs.

  • Heart Disease. Extra pounds make your dog's heart work harder and increase your pet's blood pressure. Overweight and obese dogs are more likely to suffer from heart disease and die of heart failure than dogs maintaining a healthy weight.
  • Arthritis. Joint pain is often unpreventable, but obesity exacerbates the symptoms of arthritis. Extra weight puts more pressure on healthy joints, and worsens the pain of arthritic joints.
  • Respiratory Problems. An overweight dog cannot live an active and healthy life because extra pounds push on the diaphragm, stifling the amount of oxygen consumed. This causes exhaustion and lethargy, and can also lead to heart disease.

Dogs at Risk of Weight Gain

Some dogs can eat and eat and never gain a pound, while others seemingly need only sniff food to gain weight. Like people, dogs are more prone to gain weight as they age, or if they have other existing diseases.

Certain dog breeds are more likely to become overweight and obese, however. These dogs are more enthusiastic about food, live more sedentary lives, or have slower metabolisms, or both. These breeds include Beagles, Labrador Retrievers, Pugs, Bulldogs, Basset Hounds, Boxers, Dachshunds, and Chihuahuas. If you own one of these breeds, you must be even more conscientious about your dog's weight.

Regardless of your dog's breed, the best thing to do is to nip weight gain problem in the bud the moment that you notice it creeping up. Talk to local experts like Windsor Veterinary Clinic PC if an altered diet and additional exercise is not shedding the extra weight; the gain could be the result of a more troubling medical problem.


13 April 2015

A Guide to Avoiding Pet Emergencies

Animal emergencies happen quite often, and I have seen a lot of different injuries at the veterinary office I work at. Vehicle incidents, falls, and fights with other animals can all cause these injuries. Some of the most surprising emergencies I see though, are when pets eat substances that make them ill. Dogs and cats can both get sick by ingesting flowers, essential oils, and certain types of food items that humans eat. I even see some animals that become ill when they eat shoes, towels, and their own toys. I know that the vast majority of pet owners love their animals dearly. Most medical emergencies are purely accidental. You can easily save your precious feline or canine from harm as long as you know how the most common injuries occur. The articles posted here can help you with this, so start reading to make sure your pet remains healthy.