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What Veterinarians Say Your Pet Needs Besides Exercise

Feb 21, 2008
Believe it or not, obesity is the number one health disorder in dogs today. According to recent research, approximately twenty-five percent of all dogs are obese (that statistic does not include overweight dogs). Similar to humans, too much weight from fat can cause serious health problems in dogs.

Learning to recognize obesity in dogs is essential in your job as the primary caretaker of your pet. If your dog weighs more than approximately twenty percent of their target body weight, they are most likely considered obese. Just like humans, weight gain occurs when a dog consumes more calories than they burn off with exercise. It can be difficult for owners to notice if their dog is gaining weight because it is a gradual process that takes time. A good test to tell whether or not your dog is overweight or obese is to do the rib test. Simply place your hands on you dog's rib cage, and if you can easily feel their ribs then they are most likely within their ideal weight. If you have difficulty feeling their ribs or cannot feel them at all, then your dog is more than likely overweight or obese.

If you feel that your dog may be overweight or obese, contact your veterinarian to discuss possible weight loss programs for your dog. Do not begin a weight loss plan for your dog on your own; dogs are built differently than humans, and they require slightly different weight loss methods.

Most veterinarians will focus on your dog's calorie intake. Like humans, if dogs consume more calories than they use, their bodies store it as fat. Dogs do need fat and protein in their diet, so simply buying a "fat-free" doggie food will not do the trick (not mention they shouldn't even exist). Most veterinarians will recommend keeping your dog on their same food brand, though they will recommend you either feed your dog one less meal (if you feed them multiple times throughout the day) or simply decrease the size of their food scoop, thus giving them less food.

If you are thinking about losing some extra weight yourself and want to include your dog in your exercise plan (i.e. walking or jogging), be sure to discuss your idea with your vet. Just like humans, dogs that are overweight and out of shape cannot immediately hop up and run for two miles without putting themselves at risk. When you talk to your dog's vet, you will be able to determine how much your pet will be able to handle, and you will receive advice on what is the best pace and distance for you and your dog to start out with.

Just like humans, obesity can cause serious health problems in dogs; clogged arteries, pressure on joints and bones, and even respiratory problems. Be aware of your pet's weight, and if you are concerned, see your veterinarian. They will help you decide what is best for your dog, and you will be able to work out an effective plan that will keep your dog happy and healthy!
About the Author
Pet Super Store features dog feeders & pet-carriers.
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