Just like people, pets can also become overweight through a combination of poor diet, too much to eat, or lack of exercise. Though some people seem to think chubby dogs are cute, your fat dog is at greater risk of a number of diseases, just like overweight people.
Putting your fat dog on a diet can help prevent chronic illness and early death in your dog, and will increase his enjoyment of life. Keeping your dog fit and healthy can also help you avoid expensive vet bills that will inevitably result when a fat dog becomes ill. There are several illnesses for which overweight dogs are at increased risk.
Health Risks for Fat Pets
There are a number of health risks for overweight dogs, including atherosclerosis and diabetes. These are serious illnesses that could result your dog’s early death, or may require expensive prescription medications.
An overweight dog may also have difficulty in breathing because his heart and lungs must work harder than those of his leaner peers. Arthritis is more common in fat dogs, and if he requires surgery for any reason, anesthesia will present a greater risk for him. Finally, during the summer months especially, he may not be able to eliminate excess heat from his body. This could result in heat stroke, since dogs cannot throw off heat by sweating like humans do.
How Can You Help Your Fat Dog Lose Weight?
Use the following tips to help your dog trim down to a normal weight:
1. Carefully monitor how much he is eating.
You might not realize that he is unintentionally being fed by multiple family members. When he trots over to his empty food dish, they may assume he wasn’t fed when he’s actually coming back for seconds.
2. Limit treats and table scraps.
It’s fine to offer an occasional treat, but if he is getting these several times a day, plus table scraps to boot, his caloric intake may be significantly higher than what he needs to maintain a healthy weight.
3. Make sure he gets plenty of exercise.
Take him for a daily walk. He may be resistant, because his excess weight might cause him some discomfort. Try to make it fun, and don’t take him out in very hot weather. Since the extra weight he is carrying will make it more difficult for him to cool off, you won’t want to risk him getting heat exhaustion.
4. Consult with your vet.
Talk to your vet about your dog’s condition. Your vet can help you come up with a personalized diet and exercise plan for your dog. He will be able to recommend an ideal weight for your dog’s build and breed.
This consultation will cost you far less than what you’ll pay if your dog develops a chronic illness; if you have pet insurance, the cost of visit may be covered.
Just like it is important for humans to maintain a lean weight, a dog’s weight also impacts his health. As a dog lover and a pet owner, you should take steps to prevent your dog from gaining weight, or help him lose it if he’s already overweight. While your dog is the primary focus, his excess weight could also result in hundreds of dollars in vet bills. Avoid the health risks and the expense by helping him stay healthy and fit.
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