The Causes of Canine Obesity

People often don’t realise how dangerous obesity is for their dogs. Being overweight puts more pressure on their heart, liver, kidneys, lungs and joints. Obesity in dogs can lead to serious health issues such as breathing difficulty, heart failure, diabetes, heart disease and digestive issues. Obesity will also shorten the length of your dog’s life; obese dogs can lose up to two years off their life expectancy.

What is classed as obese for dogs?

A dog’s ideal body weight varies depending on the age and breed of a dog. Find out from your vet what the correct weight is for your dog’s breed. Dogs that are 20% or above over their normal body weight are considered to be obese. When you visit your vet for a health check up with your dog, they should be able to tell you whether they are overweight. You can also check your dog’s weight by weighing them regularly and by looking at their body
shape in order to determine whether they are a healthy weight. For example, you should be able to feel but not see your dog’s ribs. They also should have a clear waste and no excess fat around the abdomen.

Causes of obesity in dogs

Not enough exercise

One of the more obvious causes of obesity is a lack of exercise. The amount of daily exercise your dog requires depends on their breed. Many overweight dogs simply aren’t getting enough exercise. Walking round the block for ten minutes is just not enough. Make sure your dog is getting the
correct amount of exercise for their breed, size and age.

Too many treats

It’s true that you can actually kill your dogs with kindness. Many dog owners simply can’t resist giving their dog one too many treats. Treats should be factored into your dog’s daily food allowance, not added on top.

Inaccurate portion control

A study featured on the programme ‘Dogs, Their Secret Lives’ found that the majority of dog owners have no idea how much food they should be giving to their dog. Don’t just estimate how much you think they should have. It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and feed your dog the correct amount.

Health issues

Some health issues can cause an increase in weight. If your dog is putting on weight and you can’t understand why then get them checked out at your vet.

Low quality dog food

Many low quality dog foods are packed with filler ingredients such as cereals which will make your dog put on weight, not lose it. If you want your dog to lose weight try and get dog food that is high in protein rather than grains and cereals. Premium dog foods tend to include higher quality

Sneaky feeders

Have you got a sneaky feeder in your family? A lot of people say they have no idea why their dog is putting on weight because they don’t realise someone keeps feeding them treats. If your dog needs to lose weight make sure everyone in your household is onboard and no one is giving your dog extra treats.

Over feeding older dogs

It’s very easy for older dogs to put on weight so it’s important not to over feed them. As dogs get older, they require less exercise and their metabolism slows down. Older dogs are naturally less active, so their food should be reduced slightly.

Things you can do to help your dog lose weight:

  • Exercise
  • Portion control
  • Healthy, high quality dog food
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Canine sports such as Agility and Flyball
  • Spending time exercising at daycare
  • Longer walks