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Dogs are our family members, which means sometimes we tend to spoil them. It’s important to remember that once in a while a treat is a spoil that’s allowed, but certainly not all the time. Excessive spoiling can lead to your dog becoming lazy and dependent on unhealthy foods. Dog obesity is a problem that can affect the long-term health of your dog and give it problems that can be easily avoided.
When dogs have excessive amounts of fat on their body, they are considered obese; this excessive fat is detrimental to an otherwise healthy animal. Obesity can lead to several other dangerous medical conditions in your dog. For example, an obese dog is more likely to develop a blood pressure disease or heart related problems or joint problems. A very obese pet can end up having congestive heart failure, but the most common problem arising from obesity in dogs is diabetes.
Some other diseases can also cause your dog to become obese. For example, if your pet is suffering from arthritis, its physical activity is limited due to the disease. So, due to a lack of proper exercise the dog can become obese.
What are some of the other consequences of obesity in dogs?
Breathing and heart problems
Because obesity makes the heart work harder, obese dogs can have more trouble breathing or worsen a pre-existing condition.
Like people, overweight dogs are more prone to inflammation in the body, high cholesterol and high lipids. These problems can be brewing under the radar for years, without any symptoms. Which is why when dogs lose their excess weight, it can ward off chronic, often difficult to diagnose, conditions.
Quantity and quality of life
Did you know that obesity can take up to two years off the life of your dog? The quality of life for your dog is also lower. Carrying extra kilograms around can take its toll on your dog; overweight dogs take longer to get up and down, they get tired a lot faster and are less likely to play.
Extra weight puts extra pressure on a dog’s joints. Because of this, the cartilage in the joint deteriorates, which leads to arthritis. Pain medication will help control the pain of this, but weight loss will significantly help in making your dog healthier.
An overweight dog has an increased risk of continuously becoming constipated. Dogs carrying excessive weight might also have more problems with intestinal gas and flatulence, which can be painful for your dog (and you!)
If your dog is overweight in the heat of summer, the excess fat can make them extremely miserable, and much less capable of regulating their body temperatures.
Decreased liver function
The liver stores fat so when a dog is overweight, an increased amount of fat builds up in the liver. This is called hepatic lipidosis. This condition can result in decreased liver function.
Obesity can very easily creep up on your dog, so it’s important to encourage daily exercise and fun games for your dog to partake in. Life is all about balance and your dog’s life should be treated the same.
If you’re looking for a few ideas on exercise, have a look at our blog about dog-friendly hikes and walks you can enjoy with your furry best friend.