Maintaining a healthy weight for your dog

When we think about keeping our pets healthy, we often think about exercise and a healthy diet. Although many of us do not intend to overfeed our pets sometimes, we spoil them with treats which can lead to obesity. Our good intentions and love can lead to over feeding which can, in turn, reduce their years here with us.

Making sure your pets stay within a healthy weight bracket is important for their quality of life and helps fights against the possibility of associated conditions that obesity can cause.

The easiest way to assess your dog’s ideal weight and prevent obesity is to follow a few simple steps:

  • Visit your vet to find out what your dog’s healthy weight should be;
  • Avoid feeding them scraps from the table;
  • Control and measure the amount of food given daily to avoid over feeding;
  • Feed your dog a complete and balanced diet. Brands such as Hills and Royal Canin offer premium nutrition, the very best for your dog;
  • Weigh your dog regularly. Your veterinary clinic should be more than happy for you to use their scales and record your dog’s weight at the same time;
  • Regularly run your hands over your dog’s ribs. Can you feel their ribs easily or is there a significant layer of fat over the ribs?
  • Observe your dog from above. Can you see a definite waistline or does it blend in to the hips?
  • Observe your dog from the side. Can you see a waistline or is there a straight line from the chest to the back legs?

 There are some useful charts available that are a helpful guide to know the ideal weight for your pet.

 Ideal Weight:

Exercise: Your dog enjoys playing, running and frolicking in the park. Has strong joints, good muscle tone and breathing and circulatory systems are working optimally.

Joints: No extra weight is being carried, so joints are not stressed.

Heart: Heart is free of obstructions.

Your pet has a good quality of life and higher life expectancy.

Overweight:

Exercise: Your dog becomes exhausted within a few minutes of starting exercise. The fat compressing the lungs makes breathing hard, and exercise is avoided.

Joints: Joints become stressed from excess weight. Your dog may start to suffer from osteoarthritis and spinal problems. Simple movements become difficult or even painful.

Heart: Your dog’s heart may develop a covering of fat which can impede its function. May also suffer from congestive heart failure.

Windpipe: Excess fat in the neck compresses the windpipe. Your dog becomes at risk of tracheal collapse and laryngeal paralysis.

Urinary Disease: Your dog is more likely to suffer from urinary stones and urinary tract infections.

Excessive Fat Accumulation: Cholesterol, fatty acids, glycerol, steroid hormones and cytokines.

All of the above can lead to poor quality of life and a lower life expectancy.

If you have any questions in regard to your pets’ weight or nutrition please contact one of our friendly staff at VetMD on Ph:34824508.

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