October is National Pet Obesity Awareness Month. Obesity is one of the most common—if not the most common—health problem we see in our canine companions. In fact, more than half of pet pups are, well, chubby. Extra pounds can affect Fido’s health and well-being in many ways, and can even shorten his lifespan. An Emerson, NJ vet discusses chubby pups in this article.
As one would expect, diet and exercise are the biggest factors that affect Fido’s weight. We all know that Man’s Best Friend has a very, very healthy appetite. He’s also very good at getting us to offer him snacks. You don’t have to overfeed your pooch by very much in order for him to start packing on extra weight. Ten extra calories a day adds up to a pound a year, while just 100 can result in a pound a month. That’s a lot for a dog! Ask your vet for specific advice, including serving sizes and treat options.
Fido may look cute if he’s a bit round, but the impacts on his health and well-being are anything but. That extra weight can lead to a slew of medical issues, including heart disease, respiratory issues, skin problems, and reproductive issues. It can also accelerate and/or exacerbate bone/joint problems, such as arthritis, and make it difficult for him to run and play. Obesity also increases the risk of certain cancers. Overall, it can take years off of your furry friend’s life.
Exercise also plays a large role in your canine pal’s weight. Doggy exercise routines are not one size fits all: they should always be customized according to your pet’s age, weight, breed, and, of course, his personal tastes. Most dogs need at least a daily walk, but some need quite a bit more than that. Ask your vet for specific recommendations.
Diet and exercise aren’t the only things that affect your pup’s weight. Genetics also plays a role. Some pups are just more predisposed to packing on extra pounds than others. That list includes the Beagle, Lab, Pug, Cocker Spaniel, Dachshund, and Boxer. In some cases, weight gain can be a side effect of medical issues, such as diabetes, or due to medications. If you aren’t sure whether or not your canine pal needs to lose weight, consult your vet.
Do you have questions about your dog’s health or care? Contact us, your local Emerson, NJ animal hospital, today!