No, It Isn’t Okay If Your Dog Is Fat

Obesity in dogs is at an all-time high.  It is getting to the point that when you walk down the street, head into the pet store, visit the dog park or go to the vet, 9 out of 10 dogs you see is at least marginally obese and many are morbidly so.  What’s the deal?

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Most dogs are pigs – if you feed them they will eat, usually just as much as you are willing to feed.  Are all of these dogs convincing their owners they are TERRIBLY HORRIBLY STARVINGLY hungry?  Do people believe that dogs are fine sleeping on the couch and being inactive all day every day?  Just like people, dogs need to watch their portions, eat healthy foods and get regular exercise – all living creatures do.  So where is the disconnect when it comes to our pets?

Did you know that a small breed dog that weighs 15 pounds when their ideal weight is 10 pounds is the equivalent of a 5’4” human weighing in at a whopping 218 pounds?  A dog who should weigh 55 pounds who instead weighs 75 pounds is the equivalent of a 5’4” human weighing 198 pounds.  Clearly this is not okay.  If you allow your dog to be overweight, you are quite literally taking years off of his life.  A fit dog, on average, lives 2 ½ years longer than their overweight counterparts.

Obesity isn’t just a cosmetic problem for a dog – it is a condition that exposes your dog to illness and injury which results in high vet bills for you and a shortened life for your dog.

Obesity is a contributing factor in:

  • Diabetes and insulin resistance
  • Arthritis
  • Heart disease
  • Anterior and cranial cruciate ligament injury
  • Kidney disease
  • Certain types of cancers
  • High blood pressure
  • Compromised immune function
  • Vertebral disc disease
  • Difficulty breathing and respiratory diseases
  • Decreased stamina
  • Heat intolerance and heat exhaustion
  • Decreased liver function
  • Increased surgical/anesthetic risk
  • Reproductive issues/Difficulty giving birth
  • Digestive disorders
  • Skin and coat issues
  • Decreased quality and length of life

While certain there are diseases that predispose a dog to obesity, most dogs simply are fed too much and exercise too little.  Many pet owners are unaware of what a dog in ideal weight should look like and as a result end up with dogs that are far plumper than they should be.  Owners also fail to take into consideration the number and kind of treats that they feed their dogs.

Oftentimes, when told by the vet that their precious pooch is overweight, owners let the admonishment go in one ear and out the other – after all, Rover is just SO hungry!  Unfortunately, a dog who is mildly obese can quickly become morbidly obese if the problem is not addressed promptly and decisively.

Coming Up – Admitting Your Dog is Fat is Just the Beginning …

Do you feel that a LITTLE overweight in a dog is okay? Leave your answer in the comment section below.