Obesity is rising not only among humans, but our pet dogs are also fattening rapidly. A large number of pet dogs nowadays are either overweight or obese. It is estimated that nearly 20 to 40 percent pet dogs are obese. Obesity could be extremely hazardous for the health of our pets.
Causes of obesity
Just like humans, high calorie diet and lack of physical activities make our pets overweight. Certain dog breeds such as Labrador retrievers, beagles, cocker spaniels, basset hounds, Shetland sheepdogs and dachshunds have a natural inclination to put on excess weight.
Risk of obesity
Obesity worsens the quality of life of the pet dogs. Excess body weight increases the risk of arthritis, respiratory problems and heart diseases in dogs.
To reduce the extra weight, you should carefully monitor the diet of your pet. The amount of food needed by your pet will be determined by the age and the actual energy requirement of the animal. Compared to the younger dogs, older dogs, even if they are physically active, need less calorie intake.
Dogs that remain active outdoors or spend a large amount of time outdoors in the cold weather need high calorie diet. Pregnant and nursing dogs need high calorie diet packed with extra protein, vitamins and minerals. Obesity is a serious problem for dogs. Therefore, pet owners should not feed their pet scraps from their lunch or dinner. You should not share your junk foods with your pet. Occasionally you can give your pet healthy snacks, such as unbuttered popcorn, carrot sticks and slices of fruits. To prevent overeating, you should give foods only during mealtime. While buying food for your pet, always check the fat content of the food. An active young dog will require about 15 percent fat for energy. Try to select nutritious low calorie foods for your pet.
To prevent obesity, dogs need regular exercise. Take your dog for long walks. You can also make your dog your exercise buddy. This will help both the pet and its human parent lose the excess body weight. Your dog can lose weight by running, swimming and playing with other dogs.