By Nancy Cope
Canine obesity is pardon the expression, a growing problem. In developed countries of the world, from 20-40 percent of the dog population are obese, and in the United States alone, this means that around 17 million dogs are either obese or overweight. This isn’t just for dogs, cats too are similarly obese as well. There are many different factors when it comes to dog obesity.
Obesity in dogs can be just as devastating as it is in humans. Being overweight can cause a number of joint, ligament and bone problems. Dogs can develop diabetes just like their human counterparts. Just like humans, there is high blood pressure, heart disease, respiratory problems, and a whole myriad of others. This doesn’t even include all the skin and coat effects.
Canine obesity is caused by many of the same things that make people overweight. Dogs that eat too much, are given the wrong foods, and that are fed too many treats that are high in calories can become overweight. Feeding your dog extra food, in addition to his own food, like table scraps, can make your dog develop weight problems. Not enough exercise, and the wrong kind of exercise, is another factor.
Look, we all want our pets to be healthy. We also want to treat our dogs to a few scraps now and then. However, feeding your dog the wrong food, too much of it, and not getting them outdoors and getting a workout can be just as bad for them as it is for you. If you can feel your dog’s ribs without seeing them, they are just the right weight.
You need to get out and walk with your pet, not just to go to the bathroom. A dog has a much higher metabolism than a human, and needs to work out all of that energy. Let them run around freely once in awhile, play fetch with them. Take your bike if you have one, and give them a good run. Not only will this keep them from being overweight, but it will be beneficial for you as well. If you can’t get out during the winter months, and you have a treadmill that you use, train your dog to use it as well.
Make sure that your dog is eating the right dog food. Check the ingredients on the bag. Make sure that is well balanced, has a certain amount of vegetable matter, and fiber in it.
Give them low calorie treats, and only scraps that are lean meats, not fried chicken, or other fatty foods. Give your dog regular meals, but don’t leave the food dish sitting full all of the time, letting them eat and eat.
Nancy Cope is the owner of four rescue dogs and Pampered Dog Gifts.