Dog obesity has a variety of causes. An imbalance between energy intake and utilization is the main culprit. To put it another way, the dog consumes more calories than they can burn.
Due to the natural decline in a dog’s capacity for activity brought on by arthritis and/or other illnesses, obesity also becomes more prevalent as a dog ages.
Table scraps, frequent rewards, and high-calorie foods can all make this situation worse.
Why do dogs get weight?
According to Dr. Ward, feeding your dog a diet rich in fat, sugar, and carbohydrates will result in weight gain. With a greater protein diet, they maintain their leanness and health.
You can be giving your dog too much food in addition to providing bad nutrition. Instead of designing a diet specifically for their puppy, many people rely on a combination of guesswork and feeding instructions to decide how to feed their dogs.
You might not be aware of how many calories they require—far fewer than you might believe—or how many are in the food (often more than you think). Most food labels don’t offer calorie information, and when they do, it’s often unclear and inconsistent.
Additionally, there are the extras like biscuits, pastries, jerky, and table leftovers, which add up quickly. According to APOP, 90% of people give their dogs goodies, many of which are calorie, carb, and sugar-rich. They are treats for a reason, right?
Dr. Ward adds that if he had to single out one cause for the current pet obesity pandemic, it would be treats. The seemingly innocuous extra 50 calories each day from a chew or cookie add up to one or two pounds annually. When a dog or cat approaches middle age, they are overweight, and their health risks start to soar.
Is a dog’s weight considered normal?
It’s actually fairly typical for dogs to appear slightly pudgier than usual. Pets also struggle with the bulge, just as people do. In fact, 55.8% of dogs in the US are overweight or obese, according to a 2018 survey by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention. And that excess weight can put your dog at risk for a wide range of health concerns, such as canine diabetes, heart troubles, and excruciating arthritis.
Do you want to know how to identify if your dog needs to lose a few pounds because it is overweight or obese? Continue reading to learn the warning signs that your dog may be overweight and how to get your dog in shape so that they can live long, healthy lives.
Check Your Dog’s Body Shape
Examining the body shape is one of the simplest methods to tell if your dog is overweight. Your dog is probably overweight if, when viewed from above, the puppy appears somewhat chubby and oval-shaped. On the other hand, if your dog appears to have a straight build down the sides and a definite waist toward the back, they are likely at a healthy weight.
Feel for Your Dog’s Ribs
According to Dr. Sara Ochoa, DVM, a veterinarian at Whitehouse Veterinary Animal Hospital in Whitehouse, Texas and a DogLab veterinarian adviser, the feel and prominence of your dog’s ribs are a significant predictor of weight problems. “Your dog is fit, she says, if its ribs aren’t overly obvious and you can feel them without exerting much pressure. It’s really challenging to feel a dog’s ribs when they are overweight because there is so much fat in the way.
Look at Your Dog From the Side
Another telltale indication of an obese dog is a sagging waist or swinging tummy. Look for a waist that is somewhat elevated rather than merely hanging down and oval-shaped when seeing your dog from the side. According to Dr. Ochoa, a dog’s abdomen should be tucked up and away from its chest.
Check Your Dog for Fat Pads
The amount of body fat on your dog is another key sign that it is overweight.” According to Dr. Ochoa, certain animals have fat pouches between their legs that cause them to waddle as they move. She also advises checking your dog’s hips when you are caressing him.” Dogs who are overweight will have fat pads above their hips.
Examine Your Dog’s Behavior
Dogs who are overweight or obese tend to be inactive and spend a lot of time chowing down on food. If you find that your dog has turned into a couch potato, struggles with breathing while walking, and overall seems to be in pain, they may be overweight. Additionally, if you let your dog choose when to eat during the day, this may promote obesity.
Weigh Your Dog
A weigh-in at your veterinarian is the most reliable technique to determine whether your dog is overweight or obese. Depending on the size and breed of your dog, your veterinarian can then determine whether it is overweight. Keep in mind that every breed will have a different definition of a healthy weight. For instance, most sighthounds ought to have ribs that are apparent.
A body condition score chart that ranks a dog’s body type by shape will be compared to as they evaluate your dog’s body and compare it to it. Scores typically range from one to nine, with one representing extremely low weight and nine representing extremely high weight. The ideal physical state is typically between four and five.
Consider the Health Effects of Being Overweight
While having a portly puppy may appear cute, the extra weight can have a significant impact on the likelihood that the dog will experience health problems associated with obesity. Dogs who are overweight may acquire a number of major health issues, such as:
- Skin conditions.
- Heart issues.
- Joint issues.
- kidney illness
- dog arthritis.
- certain cancers.
- liver issues.
- mobility problems
- breathing issues
- elevated blood pressure
Chubby brachycephalic dog breeds may have respiratory difficulties, while types like dachshunds which carry additional weight may face back problems. If they get overweight, large dog breeds may potentially experience canine orthopedic problems, especially if they are still growing.
Obesity-related health problems in dogs can have long-term effects and shorten your dog’s lifespan. Fortunately, your dog can avoid or even reverse many of these illnesses by losing weight.
Develop a Dog Weight Loss Plan
If your dog is overweight, your veterinarian will advise you to begin a weight-loss program. Reducing calorie intake and increasing the amount of time you exercise your dog should be your two main goals.
Dr. Ochoa advises starting with daily walks of 10 to 15 minutes to get your dog moving. According to the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals, you should gradually increase the amount of time you spend walking your dog every day and the vigor of the walks to up to 2 hours total each day, depending on your dog’s breed and age. The most essential thing is to make the walks enjoyable by rewarding your dog for being active and giving him lots of love. Additionally, you can enroll your dog in a canine agility class as a component of a fitness program.
There are many other AKC Sports that can offer entertainment and fitness for you and your dog if agility isn’t the ideal fit for your dog.
Create a calorie and portion-controlled weight loss plan for your dog with the assistance of your veterinarian. “According to Dr. Ochoa, even a 10% reduction in your dog’s daily food intake will aid in weight loss. Your dog’s vet may also suggest feeding them a high-fiber, low-calorie diet that will help them feel satiated for longer.
Once you are certain of the daily feeding amount for your dog, divide the meal into two portions: morning and evening. Your dog won’t get hungry later in the day if you do it this way.
Most importantly, Dr. Ochoa advises limiting treats. “Cookies and treats have extra calories. Your dog can lose weight by getting fewer treats or by completely cutting them out of their diet, according to her advice. You may also add healthy, low-calorie snacks to your dog’s diet, such as celery, carrots, green beans, broccoli, and cucumbers, which are suitable for dogs to eat either raw or cooked.
Agility for Beginners E-book
Do you need a new, entertaining pastime for you and your dog? In some cases, agility is the best choice. You may find all the information you need to get going in the e-book “Agility for Beginners.”
Where do dogs gain weight?
Dogs may put on weight for a variety of causes, including overeating, abusing rewards, or underlying medical conditions. An overweight dog is never a good thing and needs to be checked at as soon as possible, regardless of the cause.
Do dogs urinate?
No one wants to deal with dog farts, whether they are deadly silent or startlingly loud and odorous. These farts are not only humiliating for you and your visitors, but they may also be a sign that your dog is in agony from too much gas. While your dog may occasionally release gas, this is a normal and unavoidable aspect of life; nevertheless, excessive gas is not.
You should consult your veterinarian to find out what’s causing your dog’s offensive gas as there are several potential causes, including gastrointestinal problems and food intolerance. Here, we examine the potential causes of dog farts and provide solutions.
Why Does My Dog Fart So Much and Stink?
Dog farts can have a variety of causes, but most of them are similar to human causes. Following a meal, digestive tract bacteria convert the food into nutrients the body can use. Stinky hydrogen sulfide gas, a byproduct of certain meals being digested in the colon, is released during this process. When the gas gets trapped, your dog can only fart to release it.
When they eat and drink, some dogs also have a tendency to swallow a lot of air, particularly speed-eaters and breeds with short-nosed brachycephalics like Pugs, Boston terriers, Shih Tzus, and Lhasa Apsos. This air they swallowed is likewise let out through farting, just as the gas that builds up in their digestive system.
So, is frequent farting in dogs normal? Everyday gas is typical, but if you feel the need to protect yourself from your dog with a gas mask, something is wrong. This is especially true if your dog has just started farting, has diarrhea, or has blood in their stools.
Are the majority of dogs obese?
The American Kennel Club did not write this advertorial; it is an independent work. The Farmer’s Dog, an independent publication, is the source of all the thoughts and opinions stated.
According to the most recent figures, 56% of dogs in the U.S. are either overweight or obese. In spite of the fact that this makes obesity a serious health hazard for dogs, many pet owners may not even be aware that their animals are overweight.
“I frequently see folks come in with 90-pound Labs and they say,’she looks terrific,'” says Dr. Ernie Ward, DVM, CVFT, the organization’s founder (APOP). “Well, the dog is actually 15 pounds overweight. But we’ve made it the norm. This breed of dog represents the “fat pet gap,” or the discrepancy between our perceptions of what a dog should look like and what a healthy body composition actually is, as coined by APOP.
Dogs who are overweight suffer serious effects. Ward and other veterinarians actually describe it as our pets’ biggest health hazard. And it’s not just a single problem; obesity is associated to a wide range of health issues, including diabetes, heart failure, high blood pressure, cancer, arthritis, chronic kidney disease, bladder/urinary tract illness, liver disease, inadequate thyroid hormone production, and many others. “We believe it’s crucial that people realize this is more than simply a cosmetic concern,” says Dr. Ward. “This has a physiological repercussion.
A slimmer margin of error
Even though being overweight negatively affects a pet’s health, veterinary professionals say obesity, which is loosely defined as being 30% above ideal body weight (there is no widely accepted criteria for pets), is harmful. And that’s one of the difficulties in solving this problem. It’s possible that many pet owners are just unaware of the problem.
“According to Ward, when you look at your dog, it appears healthy, active, and free of any obvious medical conditions. ” You therefore claim that it is normal, and as a result its shape or size is also normal. However, the issue is that humans frequently lack knowledge of canine “normality, so we project our own human-centric perspective.” According to Ward, we typically believe that we only need to lose five pounds. “Well, a few extra pounds have a much, much bigger and focused physiological effect on pets than they do on people. On a cat, five pounds is disastrous. On a Lab, five pounds is significant. We consider taking a few pounds off my lab; what may that mean? However, the repercussions include Lab’s hips weakening, kidney damage, high blood pressure, which is likely creating a number of issues, and an increased risk of developing cancer.
An integrative veterinarian from Chagrin Falls Pet Clinic in Ohio, Dr. Carol Osborne, agrees that a dog does not need to be clinically obese in order to experience negative health effects. “According to her, even a 10% weight gain shortens a dog’s life by one-third and puts him at risk for diabetes, arthritis, cancer, heart, kidney, and liver problems.
According to Osborne, adipose tissue, also known as fat, has blood arteries, and the extra rich blood that results causes inflammation. According to her, all of this fosters an environment that cancer cells find appealing and raises the likelihood that a dog would contract the illness.
A few extra pounds can also make a significant impact for some smaller breeds “She claims that adding three pounds makes a dog in the “toy” category around 30 pounds heavier than you or I.
The health effects of having even a slightly overweight dog, according to holistic veterinarian and researcher Dr. Jean Dodds of the Hemopet veterinary center in California, include “reduced energy leading to less activity, “easy keeper” (gains weight on small amounts of food), skin and coat issues, and irregular female reproductive cycles, if intact.
Conversely, even a modest weight decrease may help obese dogs. A clinical trial that was published in 2010 found that weight loss starting at 6.10% resulted in a significant reduction in lameness in obese dogs with osteoarthritis.
Another study indicated that being overweight was linked to a lower lifespan in the 12 dog breeds examined. This study was published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine in 2018. For the overweight group, it was projected that their longevity was reduced by up to 2.5 years.
“According to Ward, even a small weight loss of 6%—six pounds for a 100-pound Retriever—can make a difference when treating obese dogs. “The pet can feel better with only a small amount of weight loss. Since it affects both longevity and disease prevention as well as quality of life, I make a point of bringing this up when I speak to pet owners.
Osborne claims that she has repeatedly observed this rise in quality of life following weight loss. A two-year-old male Pomeranian named Smokey who weighed 45 pounds arrived at her office with one of her clients. The dog was going to have a second cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) surgery on a hind leg when he first went to see her. Osborne modified his food, switching from dry kibble to chicken and vegetables straight out of the garden.
She reports that he now weighs 22 pounds.
Instead of spending the most of the day napping beneath the kitchen table and scarcely moving, he behaves, feels, and looks like a puppy. He’s playing and having a great time racing around the home. Additionally, he won’t require any additional surgery.
Rewriting your dog’s future
The issue may not appear as urgent to dog owners whose dogs are not obese and who are not displaying overt signs of illness. But Ward cautions against stalling when you have the opportunity.
“I see too many 10-year-old Lab mixes who are suddenly unable to enter the vehicle due to debilitating hip arthritis brought on excessive weight, he claims. “However, you won’t have the years’ worth of accumulated harm if you can rewind the tape. People may be aware that (obesity) is a silent, sneaky murderer, yet they wait until there is an emergency before taking action. I contend that obesity is not addressed until there is an emergency. If it’s catastrophic, you might not be able to recover.
A guide for dog owners: How to assess your dog’s weight
How can dog owners establish the optimal weight for their canines remains to be answered.
According to Osborne, it starts with regularly monitoring your dog’s physical condition. She advised performing the “rib test.
She advises, “Stand behind your dog and softly run your hands along either side of the rib cage.
Your dog should have a waist or a tucked up area in front of the hind legs, and you should be able to readily feel each rib without being able to see it. It’s probably time to look about reducing if you can squeeze more than an inch and/or your dog has lost some of his waist.
Ward chooses a different strategy. I advise you to take the standing test. Take a side view of the dog. He advises you to lean in and look at them from the side to check if their stomach or belly is drooping. ” Then I glance up: From a standing position, I should be able to observe an hourglass-shaped depression in front of the hips. The waist should taper to create an hourglass shape, and the chest should stretch outward.
The majority of dogs should pass this test, according to Ward, despite the fact that dogs’ bodies and amounts of hair and fur vary greatly (he notes that exceptions include English Bulldogs and Pugs).
Food matters most
Many veterinarians concur that for dogs and cats, weight loss starts and stops at the food bowl. According to published research and personal experience, Ward divides the weight-loss equation into two parts: 60–70% food and 30–40% activity.
So it becomes crucial to know just how much to feed your dog. Like a lot of experts, Ward advises against basing your feeding decisions on the instructions found on the majority of commercial dry dog food packaging. The limits are simply too broad to meet the demands of every dog because they are based on adult dogs for all life phases. For instance, spaying or neutering a dog lowers its energy consumption by 20–30%, according to Ward. So, he explains, if you’re feeding your pet as recommended, you’re already overfeeding a neutered or spayed animal. When pet owners claim, “I’m feeding precisely what they say on the package,” people respond, “No, that’s too much.
Working with your veterinarian to evaluate your dog’s lifestyle, body condition, muscle condition, and any underlying medical issues will help you decide how many calories you should be feeding them.
Additionally, you can use the internet calculators (including those on the APOP website), which offer a reliable estimate of the weight ranges and caloric requirements by breed and size.
Osborne advises eating fresh food, which includes lean proteins like chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, and tofu, as well as fiber-rich green vegetables like spinach, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and cabbage.
Despite the fact that some dog owners are hesitant to offer their pets “human food,” real, fresh food is more nutrient-dense and bioavailable than dried, processed kibble. In order to make sure meals are properly balanced and contain the required vitamins and nutrients, anyone wanting to cook fresh food at home for any period of time should be sure to speak with their veterinarian. It is simpler and safer to offer nutritionally balanced meals if you follow a fresh-food regimen.
Although diet is the main determinant, dog owners should also aim to exercise their dogs twice daily for at least 20 minutes. Also, watch out for food. Use fresh vegetables as healthful treats instead of packaged foods with unknown ingredients, such as pig ears and bully sticks.