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Obesity In Dogs Has Become A National Epidemic
It has been estimated that around 40 percent of dogs in the United States are obese. This is an epidemic every bit as serious as obesity that affects humans. Dogs suffer from the same adverse health effects due to obesity that humans do and these can drastically reduce the quality of your dog's life and even shorten his lifespan.
Dogs get overweight for a number of reasons. The major culprits are poor diet and lack of exercise. However, there are some physical and mental conditions that lead to obesity as well. For example, hypothyroidism can cause your dog to gain weight. Also, certain breeds seem to have a tendency towards obesity such as beagles, bulldogs, and cocker spaniels.
If your dog has put on weight gradually over the years, you may not even realize he is overweight. So if the vet or your friends remark about your dog being overweight, you should probably take heed. Also, pay attention to how active your dog is. Has he gotten lazy? Would he rather skip the walks he used to love?
Unfortunately, dogs can't tell us what exactly is going on with them. Symptoms of obesity could also be symptoms of some other medical problems. That's why it is important to take your dog in for regular checkups with a vet. However, there are some signs your dog is overweight. When you pet your dog's side, you should be able to feel his ribs. If his ribs are buried under fat, he is obese. Also, when you look at your dog, you should see his stomach tuck in when he is at rest. If your dog's stomach protrudes or has no tuck, he is carrying too much fat.
You want your dog to feel good and be happy, but if he is obese, he is at serious risk of health complications such as diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. Plus he may feel lethargic and lose his enthusiasm for life if it is difficult for him to get around due to his obesity.
The treatment for an obese dog is of course, weight loss. This is best undertaken with the advice of a veterinarian because you don't want to make your dog go hungry. In order to lose weight, your dog must reduce the number of calories he eats each day and increase the amount of calories he burns off. This means more daily walks and play time which he should love and will make for a good way to get his mind off food.
Changing your dog's diet may be harder on you than it is on your dog. You'll need to cut back or eliminate table scraps and treats. It will be difficult to resist your dog's begging eyes but remember it is for his own good health. You'll still be feeding your dog an ample amount of food and calories each day. Weight loss in dogs should be done slowly in a healthy way rather than making a sudden switch to a calorie restricted lifestyle. Your dog will be much healthier and happier as a result.
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