Overweight dogs: causes, consequences and tips
Overweight is unfortunately very widespread in dogs. For affected quadrupeds the excess kilos can have serious consequences in the long run and cause massive health problems.
In this article we will explain how dogs become overweight, the consequences of obesity and what you can do about it.
Causes of obesity in dogs
In most cases we humans are responsible for the overweight of our dogs. Of course, we want our beloved four-legged friends to have nothing missing. Accordingly, there are often treats, much too large portions of food or even the one or other treat from our own plate.
This is well-intentioned, but in the long run it inevitably leads to the animal absorbing far too much food and therefore becoming thicker and thicker. If there is also a lack of exercise, the problem worsens even further.
In addition to this main cause, obesity in dogs can also have the following causes:
- Genetic predispositions (Some breeds are more prone to obesity.)
- Castration (Changes in hormonal balance can favour overweight.)
- Diseases (A visit to the vet will give you clarity.)
Possible consequences of obesity in dogs
If your dog suffers from overweight, it will sooner or later have fatal consequences for his health and well-being. Even if problems usually do not become immediately noticeable, it is only a matter of time before the first symptoms become apparent.
Among other things, overweight in dogs can lead to the following health problems:
- Joint diseases (The high weight strains the musculoskeletal system and favours diseases such as osteoarthritis).
- Skin problems (obesity in dogs can contribute to the development of ulceration and inflamed paws.)
- Diabetes (dogs with overweight tend to develop diabetes.)
- Diseases of the cardiovascular system (obese dogs often suffer from heart problems.)
- Shortness of breath (Carrying around the extra weight is exhausting and can lead to breathing difficulties.)
- Weak immune system (overweight weakens the immune system, making fat dogs particularly susceptible to disease).
However, obesity does not only cause health problems in dogs. In addition, obese animals often live significantly shorter lives than their normal-weight counterparts.
Preventing obesity in dogs
As you can see, overweight in dogs is by no means just a cosmetic problem. For this reason, you should make sure that your four-legged friend does not get too fat. In addition to regular weight checks, it is particularly important to pay attention to the diet and to move the animal enough.
The right diet is important
Essentially, obesity prevention is about ensuring that your dog consumes an appropriate amount of calories from an early age. To this end, it can be helpful to weigh the food and ration it accurately.
You also need to consider all the treats your dog gets from you and reduce his rations accordingly. On the other hand, you should refrain from eating leftovers from the table. Because these do not only contribute to the emergence of overweight, but can be partially even poisonous for your dog.
Sufficient exercise burns calories
In addition to feeding your dog, you can also counteract the development of obesity with sufficient exercise. Make sure that you take a variety of walks and that your four-legged friend is physically challenged enough.
In addition, various dog sports are available to keep your dog on his toes and avoid obesity. Of course, you should always consider the breed and age. For example, what is good for a young Golden Retriever will probably do more harm than good for an older Bulldog.
This is especially true if your dog is already heavily overweight and therefore already suffers from physical limitations.
The one diet for all breeds of dogs there is not
Of course, all dogs are semi-carnivores, whose digestion is primarily aimed at the utilization of animal fats and proteins. However, this does not mean that there are no differences in nutritional requirements.
For example, some breeds tend to be more overweight, while others do not tolerate certain nutrients in the feed. If you want to feed your four-legged friend in an appropriate way and keep his weight within a normal range, you must therefore pay attention to some things. With our online nutritionist this is not a problem.
The Bellfor nutritionist for overweight dogs
With the Bellfor Nutritionist, we have developed an online tool that supports you in feeding your dog the right way and helps you to get the obesity of your four-legged friend under control or to avoid overweight from the outset.
It does not matter what breed it is. Whether Chihuahua or Irish Wolfhound - our nutritionist knows exactly what is important for the nutrition of your dog.
Overweight in dogs - the most important thing at a glance
More and more dogs in Germany are overweight and suffer from numerous health problems such as joint diseases, shortness of breath or diabetes due to their obesity.
Overweight can be caused by diseases in dogs. In most cases, however, feeding errors of the owner are simply responsible. Our nutritionist will help you to avoid these mistakes in the future and to counteract the obesity of your four-legged friend healthily and permanently.
Try out the tool directly and within a few moments you will see which food is right for your overweight dog.