Every Dog’s Weight Problem – The Result of an Overweight Dog
How can you resist those big puppy-dog eyes when you are munching on a snack? It is hard to stop yourself from giving your dog treats simply because you love them. The problem is that with food love comes weight gain. It is estimated that 55% of dogs in Canada do not get enough exercise – a causing factor for obesity. Not only is excess weight a problem for a dog’s health, but it can be the source for a number of other health-related issues as well. When it comes to the health of our pets, we want to give them the best life possible. This may involve holding back from getting your dog that Puppuccino at Starbucks, no matter how cute she is. Although she may deserve it, keep a constant eye on your dog’s weight so that she can avoid the following health problems.
Shockingly, dogs can get diabetes as well as humans. As a dog continues to be overweight, the cells in his body become resistant to insulin (a hormone needed to maintain sugar levels). Although there is no evidence to support that weight directly causes diabetes, it is known that obesity decreases insulin regulation, therefore linking it to weight problems. In addition, obesity is a risk factor for pancreatitis which inevitably leads to diabetes. If a dog does have diabetes, it is not curable but is treatable with the possibility of insulin shots or home monitoring. If a dog’s weight gets under control again, it helps cells become more receptive to insulin, which can help in managing diabetes.
When a dog’s weight becomes a causing factor of heart disease, you know that things have taken a serious turn. Heart problems are one of the more severe and life-threatening health-related issues in dogs. When your dog is overweight, her body has to work harder. The heart pumps harder to circulate blood and this puts a strain on her heart (resulting in degenerative problems). What’s worse, heart problems can also affect the respiratory system. The harder the heart works, the increased strain there is to get more oxygen moving throughout the body. Do your dog’s body the biggest favour and get your dog’s weight under control!
Lowered Immune System
When the body has more fats to process, it can often take a toll on the immune system. Because the body is getting more than it needs (excess food as well as access to unhealthy foods), it causes weight gain. With weight gain, the immune system begins to weaken. When this happens, your dog is more vulnerable to viral and bacterial infections as well as other common diseases. This is extremely dangerous as dogs are low to the ground and have more access to germs and bacteria on roads, grass, other animals, etc. Keeping your dog’s weight under control can boost her immune system, making her stronger to resist the sickness and disease she may come into contact with.
When your dog’s weight is not under control, it can lead to obesity. Dogs that gain excessive weight (both fast and over time) have more to carry around in their day-to-day life. Because a dog’s legs are not built to carry so much weight, it begins to put pressure on his joints. Joint pain is common in large dogs, but can also be found in dogs like dachshunds, who have a long body with smaller legs for support. The pressure put on the joints leads to ligament degeneration and pain soon follows. Without the relief of taking the pressure of excessive weight off of his joints, the area will continue to deteriorate and cause more stress and pain on him. Any weight he can lose (even 6-8% of body fat) can relieve pain and improve movements.
No owner wants to see their dog in pain or struggle, and that is why it is so important to keep a dog’s weight under control. Talk to your vet about the proper amount to feed your dog, and ensure he is getting the right nutrients in his diet. It is good to restrain yourself from over-feeding your dog. Although we see giving treats and snacks as a form of love, in the long term it can harm his health. Take care of your pup and prevent weight gain to improve his quality of life for years to come!