A little extra weight on your best friend may not seem like too much of a problem, but an overweight dog means that there could be health problems ahead. If your dog’s weight isn’t ideal, we understand. Here are some ways to help obese dogs with fiber and other natural options.
Is my dog’s weight a problem?
A survey by Waltham Petcare Science Institute revealed that nearly 60% of dogs in the United States are obese or overweight. More and more vets report that overweight dogs are common in their practices and obesity in dogs is a leading cause of other comorbid health issues. Overweight and obese dogs with excess weight need intervention to help get them to their ideal body weight for their best health and well-being.
Is my dog overweight or obese?
If your dog’s weight is 15% or more above their ideal weight, they are considered overweight while dogs that weigh 30% or more above their ideal weight are considered obese.
Vets will also consider your dog’s body condition. Using an overweight dog chart, they’ll look at your dog’s diet, ask about your dog’s daily calorie intake and they’re likely to feel your dog’s ribs. An overweight or obese dog will take in more calories than they’re burning off, of course, and that dog’s ribs likely can’t be felt easily when your vet is feeling for them. Using the overweight dog chart, they’ll tell you more about what to do about your dog’s daily food intake as well as your dog’s daily exercise needs to help get them to their ideal weight. They may also suggest weight loss foods for weight management to get to their perfect weight. The weight loss plan for your dog will differ based on their body condition score and what their normal weight should be.
Whether you have an overweight or an obese dog, their weight problems can be an indicator that they have health issues ahead. The goal is never to just have lean dogs; we want your dog’s life to be healthy and happy too.
Health issues caused by dog obesity
If your dog is considered overweight, it may develop serious health issues. You want to help them lose weight so you can help prevent them from possibly suffering from the following ailments that can truly affect your dog’s quality of life:
- Respiratory issues
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Orthopedic issues
- Shorter life span
What causes weight gain in dogs?
There are a handful of reasons behind obesity in dogs. They include:
- Overfeeding: One of the most common causes behind an overweight dog is simply because they take in too many calories. For most overweight dogs, this is the main reason vets recommend weight loss to get them to shed the extra weight. This excess caloric intake can result from overfeeding, frequent treats, or a diet too high in fat and carbohydrates.
- Lack of Exercise: Dogs need regular physical activity to maintain a healthy body weight. If a dog doesn’t get enough exercise, it can easily gain weight. And, even if you exercise your dog more to get them to their ideal body weight, if you don’t maintain exercise as part of their weight loss plan, you might see rebound weight gain.
- Age: As dogs get older, their metabolism tends to slow down. This can lead them to gain weight. If your older dog is overweight that could be simply because they’re not as active as they were in younger days, preventing them from burning off excess calories.
- Neutering/Spaying: Neutering or spaying can sometimes lead to overweight dogs. While this isn’t super common, it’s believed to be due to hormone changes that regulate their appetite and metabolism. This can affect their body weight negatively.
- Medical Conditions: Sometimes medical conditions can cause your dog to gain weight. These include hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid), Cushing’s disease (overproduction of cortisol), and certain other hormonal imbalances. Sometimes your dog may take a medicine that will cause them to gain weight too.
- Breed Predisposition: Some dog breeds are just more prone to gaining weight more easily than other breeds are. For example, Labrador Retrievers, Dachshunds, and Beagles are among the breeds often more susceptible to obesity.
Ways to help overweight dogs:
- Decrease caloric intake – The easiest way to help if your dog is overweight and you want them to lose weight is to reduce the calories that go in your dog’s body. When your dog eats too much or brings in more calories than they burn, they’ll likely have excess body fat. To help your dog lose weight, start by reducing calories in their food and treats. Also, consider providing healthier treats if you want to keep bonding and offer nutrition with few calories. Believe it or not, many dogs love raw veggies as a treat!
- Exercise – As we’ve said, one of the best ways to help a dog lose weight is to ensure they have plenty of exercise. Make taking daily walks and play part of their everyday routine.
- Structured Feeding Times: Rather than leaving food out all the time (free feeding), having specific meal times can help control how much your dog eats.
- Medical Check-up: If your dog is overweight or obese, it may be a good idea to have a veterinarian check them for underlying health conditions that might be contributing to their excess weight. Not only will they give help give you insight to what a healthy weight is, they can give you some additional ideas for weight loss too.
Premium fiber supplementation can help your dog lose weight
A healthy diet and regular exercise will help your dog maintain their target weight, but a premium fiber supplement may help your dog too if your dog is overweight.
That’s just what Bernie’s Perfect Poop does with its performance blend of Miscanthus grass, pumpkin and flaxseed and inulin. When your dog has a quality fiber supplement added to each meal, they feel more full and this helps them crave fewer calories. A fuller-feeling dog means they are less likely to be hungry and eat as much and eating fewer calories will lead to more weight loss. Perfect Poop is an all-natural, high-fiber supplement combined with pre- and probiotics that also add to your dog’s overall health. After all, healthy dogs have happier lives.