It happens more than we’d like
to see at GRRMF. People, thinking they are showing love,
overfeed their pets. As the dog gains weight, it becomes
less energetic, making a regular exercise routine more
difficult – a potentially deadly cycle for the dog.
Obesity in dogs is a serious medical problem. And just
like their waistlines, the problem is growing. It is estimated
that 25 percent to 50 percent of all American dogs are
overweight. The bottom line: If you overfeed your dog,
you are shortening his or her life span.
Overweight dogs at risk for developing diabetes, heart
disease, joint and hip problems, digestive disorders and
liver and kidney disease. Obesity causes dogs to have less
energy and stamina, leaving their immune systems weaker
and putting them more at risk for contracting viral and
Assess Your Dog:
- You should be able to feel her ribs without prodding.
If you can't feel the ribs, or if you have to apply pressure
feel them, your dog needs to lose weight.
- Look at her abdomen from the side - there should be a
modest "tuck-up" area
between her rib cage and hind legs - not as pronounced as a greyhound,
for example, but still there.
- Stand directly above your dog and look down at him. Can
you see a waist - does his body have an indent between the
and hips? It should make an hourglass figure. Too much of an
indent, and he's too thin. If it's not there, or if it bulges
out, it's diet time.
Weight Control Strategies:
- Start with a high-quality dog food.
Measure his food and reduce the ration slightly - if you
feed 1 cup per serving,
reduce to 2/3 cup. Try this for a few weeks, and reduce
another 1/4 cup if necessary.
- Add a half-can of no-salt-added
green beans, cooked sweet potatoes and/or pumpkin to each
meal to help your
feel full without adding calories.
- Watch the treats. Buy low-fat biscuits and dole them
out carefully Even better, try these low-fat alternatives:
rice cakes, unbuttered popcorn, apple slices, unsalted pretzels,
melba toast or bananas.
- Your dog is not a disposal for uneaten
people food. Throw leftovers in the garbage, not on your
dog's food. If he's
already overweight, he doesn't need the extra calories.
a daily exercise routine. Sniffing around the backyard
isn't enough. It might help to consider it
– everyone can benefit from daily exercise.
- Beware of "diet" dog
foods – many contain fillers such as peanut hulls, which
are not nutritious. Read the
label before you buy a “low-cal” dog food – it’s your best
that your dog is eating quality ingredients.
Dogs are opportunistic scavengers. They’ll eat themselves
into oblivion if given the chance. YOU can control your dog’s
weight by realizing that food is not a substitute for love
and attention. Your golden will love you just as much if you
give him a massage, let him lie by your side, throw a tennis
ball for him or take him for a walk.
The above information is not meant to replace professional
advice from a licensed veterinarian. Please consult with your
veterinarian concerning your dog’s medical condition.