We love our pets. But sometimes, we can love them a little too much. You may be tempted to shower your pups with tasty treats to show them your love, but after time, all the extra treats and meals can turn into a serious problem for your furry companion. Pet obesity has turned into a serious epidemic that needs to be addressed by today’s pet owners. It’s estimated that 53% of American dogs are obese, and this number only continues to rise. That’s higher than the 33% of Americans who are currently classified as obese.
What Causes Obesity in Dogs
The most common causes of obesity in dogs is an improper diet or an insufficient amount of exercise. Typically, both of these factors are present in obese dogs. Dogs loose or gain weight based on how many calories they consume and how many they then subsequently burn off. When a pet is not receiving a consistent and balanced diet or proper exercise, their chances of becoming obese increase dramatically.
Why are Some Breeds More Prone to Obesity
Some dog breeds are simply more prone to obesity than others. Why is this? A new study would suggest that the wording of breed standards has contributed to the rise in overweight pets that were brought home from a breed. When the following words were used in the breed’s standard description:
- heavier in bone
- massive build
- square and thick set in overall build
- dogs are more massive throughout
- square and cobby
- bold and valiant figure
Through years of selective breeding in the pursuit of achieving dogs that had more desirable traits like being “heavier in bone,” it’s possible that we’ve made obesity, at least to some degree, attractive.
But what about mixed breeds? These dogs weren’t bred in the pursuit of specific traits, yet a mix is just as likely as a purebred to become overweight and obese. Having a dog neutered might make your pet more prone to obesity, as will aging. When dogs age they become less mobile. And when their mobility decreases but their diet remains the same this can lead to an unbalanced lifestyle. The elderly dog in question is now eating more calories than his body can burn, leading him to pack on the pounds in his old age.
In all honesty, we’d don’t fully understand why some breeds are more prone to obesity than others. What we do know is that some breeds are just genetically predisposed to obesity. This means that the breeds in question will gain weight fast than others either because they’re historically less active than other breeds or it can be due to their metabolisms and appetites being different than that of their fellow dogs. Your vet will be able to help you determine the specific cause of your dog’s obesity based on his breed and individual traits.
What Breeds are Prone to Obesity
Whether it’s genetics or lifestyle, these are the breeds that are more prone to obesity than others.
- Basset Hounds
- Golden Retrievers
- Cocker Spaniels
- Labrador Retrievers
How To Keep Your Fit
All dogs need to be kept fit, but if your pet is predisposed to obesity, it will be even more important to keep them healthy. Keeping a pet healthy is easy, helping a pet to regain its health is hard. When it comes to obesity, the best treatment is prevention. Make sure you start building healthy habits in your pet from a young age. Follow our guidelines below to keep your pet happy and healthy.
All dogs need exercise. You may think that your small breed dog will be fine just running around your house all day, but you would be incorrect. All dogs need legitimate exercise every day, no matter their size. Exercise does wonders for your dogs, including strengthening his respiratory system, providing oxygen to tissue cells, keeping muscles toned and joints flexible, providing fun, improving brain activity, and burning calories. Whether you take a few laps around your neighborhood or spend an hour at the park playing fetch, getting out for some exercise will always be a good idea.
Diet and Portion Control:
It can be hard to say no when your pet pleads with you with its great big eyes, but we strongly recommend that you say no when your pet begs for people food or for extra servings of his own food. The most important thing you can do for your pet is to find the right dog food for his needs. While most dog foods may look the same, they’re not. Each dog food has a different list of ingredient and nutrition value. Talk with your vet to find the best dog food that fits your dog’s needs.
Educating yourself as to your dog’s breed standards, developing a manageable exercise routine, and finding the right food for your pet will help you manage your pet’s obesity or keep it from happening in the first place. For more information about your pet’s breed or about the ideal diet for your pet check out our online archive of over 10,000 articles.