“FAT POOCHES: TOO MANY TREATS?’

 

When we think of dogs we tend to think of agile creatures that love to exercise and play, have speed and power, and are sleek or cuddly. However, just like humans, dogs can be prone to weight problems, some breeds far more than others.

 

Most dogs love their food and treats, and although most love to exercise and play there are also those that are quite happy to squeeze you off the couch on a cold day for the best place in front of the fire- couch potato number one. The combination of lack of exercise and over-feeding can lead to a very fat little dog.

 

Avoid obesity in your dog

 

Some dogs can be far more susceptible than others to weight gain, and can result in a range of associated health problems. Weight gain can not only make your dog miserable, but also reduce his lifespan as well as the quality of his life.

 

It’s not easy to say no to those cute adorable stares that would leave you to think starvation in imminent. But, as a responsible owner it is up to you to monitor and maintain a healthy weight for your dog, or take action in order to try and get their weight back on track.

 

We all love to give our dogs treats to show them how much we care, but this is often doing more harm than good. Just like with children, we must learn to tell them no when it comes to regular and frequent treats and, reduce their food portions if necessary. One of the biggest mistakes made by pet owners is poor quality pet food that leaves the dog feeling hungry all the time. Contrary to most traditional views, scraps from the table are fine, and very satisfying to the animal, but give him one choice bite of meat, the hard soup bone, vegetables if they will, rice and other carbohydrates- not the fat cut from the meat and definitely not sweets.

 

Another factor that directly affects your dog's weight is his level of daily exercise. Believe it or not, there are some dogs that actually have to be persuaded to go for their walks. If you have such a dog that is happy never to step out of the house, you shouldn't just shrug your shoulders and thank your lucky stars that you don't have the duty of taking him out each day. Instead, you need to make a concerted effort to ensure that he does get regular exercise, no matter how sedentary his natural personality might be.

 

If your dog is very overweight you should get expert advise. Other health problems such as diabetes, thyroid problems, joint aches and pains will interfere with his energy level and or desire to walk and be active.

 

A number of health problems can affect fat dogs, which is why it is important to keep your dog's weight under control. Some weight related health problems that can affect your pet include: heart and lung disease, poor liver and kidney function, and joint and back problems. A thinner leaner animal will lead to a better life for your pet and fewer expensive trips to the veterinarian. Till next time, Rebecca