I don’t say that out loud but I sure want to sometimes. This is a rant that has been in my head for quite a while and I was reminded about it just this morning when I saw a beagle limping along with her stomach an inch above the ground. I know beagles as a breed are prone to eating disorders but let’s face it, we humans are the ones controlling their food intake. Having an overweight dog is not cute nor kind.
I see examples all the time:
- A woman at a dog park who was proud of how round her dog was and how he loved french fries.
- The “support dog” dachshund at the DMV whose belly was scrapping the floor.
- A surfing pug who looked to have a built-in PFD.
And then there are the not obese but simply overweight dogs whose owners care enough to try to deal with their dog’s joint pain but overlook the more direct solution of getting the extra weight off.
When your dog is overweight they are at higher risk of diabetes mellitus, joint, bone and ligament damage heart disease, increased blood pressure, difficulty breathing, lower stamina, lower heat tolerance, decreased liver function, digestive disorders, decreased immunity, increased cancer risk, skin and coat problems and general decrease in quality of life and longevity.
Graphic courtesy of: World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA)
What to do:
Talk to your vet. If your dog is obese you will need to take the weight off in a controlled manner. Follow the recommended feeding guidelines on your food. Use a high quality food, the extra benefit is that they will poop less because they will digest more. Cut back on the treats, there are lots of calories in treats and they aren’t as nutritional as regular food.
Exercise your dog everyday, it is good for your pet and for you. Dog parks are a great place if the temperament of your pet allows.
If my rant offended anyone I’m sorry, well sort of. If it makes even a few people take a closer look at their pet’s weight and decide to do something positive about it then it is worth offending a few others.
For more information check out: Association for Pet Obesity Prevention