Is your dog overweight
Obesity in dogs is a huge problem resulting in joint disease, heart problems, diabetes and shortened lifespan. If you can’t easily feel your pet’s ribs, it’s time to cut down on the treats and enforce doggy diet measures.
“It’s an image I’ll never forget: a slight woman, grunting with the effort of pulling a wagon with her 29 kg Beagle into the examination room. For reference, an average beagle weighs about 10kg,” says Dr Jessica Vogelsang of the UC Davis Veterinary School. The woman brought her dog in for a consultation with the orthopedic surgeons because, unsurprisingly, the dog couldn’t walk. The surgeons took one look at it and sent them down to the medicine department for a weight loss consultation.
Dog day diet
When to take action: As mentioned, you should be able to easily feel your pet’s ribs. Also, if your dog doesn’t have a clearly defined waist when viewed from above, it is probably overweight.
Ask an expert: Visit your vet for confirmation and to check for underlying medical issues such as low thyroid function, which can predispose a dog to weight gain.
Calorie counter: The average overweight dog with no other health issues will respond well to a calorific reduction of about 25 to 30 percent. It’s vital that you use a measuring cup to regulate quantity and to use that same cup every time you feed.
Obese dogs with more than 15-20 % over normal weight should enroll into a weight loss programme under veterinary supervision, which includes a prescription weight loss diet and an exercise programme. A healthy weight loss is about 1-2 % of body weight per week and it will take time.
Teamwork: With committed family members and the right game plan, even the pudgiest pooch can get into shape. As for the beagle, the owner was shocked to learn that something as simple as weight loss could solve all the dog’s problems. He trimmed down to 16 kg, which resolved his orthopoedic issues. The owner proclaimed that the head of the medicine department was a miracle worker.