We humans love to show our dogs how much we care about them through food. We give them extra kibble just “because,” we feed them tidbits off our plates with all kinds of fats and sugars, and we believe the dog chew companies when they tell us our dogs should get their processed, filler-filled treats and chews every day. And we get it, here at Stay Loyal we love to spoil our dogs too! But, when it comes to using food as a way of saying “I Love You,” most dog owners are literally killing their dogs with kindness!
Don’t believe us?
According to the Australian Veterinary Association, nearly 50% of dogs in Australia are overweight!
Even more interesting, their studies showed “The bond between the owner and the animal is a crucial factor determining the caloric intake and subsequent body condition of an animal.”
Australians really do use food as a way of saying “I LOVE YOU” to their dogs, and it’s having drastic consequences on their dogs’ well-being.
Overweight dogs are at an increased risk for many health issues, which can shorten their lifespan. Here are just a few complications that can arise when your dog is overweight:
· Hypertension (high blood pressure)
· Lowered immune system functions
· Increased cancer risk
· Liver disease
· Heart disease
· Heat intolerance (many overweight dogs die on hot summer days)
· Respiratory problems
· Increased risk when under anesthesia
· Increased risk of torn ACLS or other ligaments and leg/hip issues due to excess weight
· Skin issues that develop in the fatty folds of the skin, including bacterial infections.
· AND MORE!
As you can see, obesity not only shortens your dog’s life span, it makes your dog’s life less comfortable. Plus, it’s going to cost you money at the vet’s as well. Keeping your dog healthy and trim not only saves you money in dog food, but it also saves you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars at the vet. And the most important thing is your dog will live longer and be happier and healthier.
INTERESTINGLY, THE AVA’s studied concluded this about the overweight dogs:
“Obesity is the product of a positive energy balance where caloric intake exceeds output, leading to adiposity. Only 5% of cases are treatable medically. 95% of cases must be treated through control of caloric intake.”
This means that your dog’s obesity really is in your hands. You need to stop over feeding, look at his body condition, and feed appropriately. Wondering how to do this? Read this article on how to feed your dog and determine body condition.
And of course, you can also feed your dog TOO LITTLE, (I will stress that feeding too little is quite hard because you have to do it for a long period of time). You should not be able to count every rib, or see your dog’s hip bones. Feeding your dog too little can also have serious health issues and also lead to an early grave. That said, most dogs are overweight so be fearful of overfeeding as well as be aware when your dog becomes lean to not go too thin as well.
And don’t forget, there is that 5% of dogs that may have a medical condition, such as hypothyroid disease or may be on a medication that is contributing to the weight factor as well. So, if you have reduced your dog’s food and increased his activity level, but he is still not losing weight, you should have him checked by the vet to make sure a medication or medical issue is not at play.
The important thing is to remember to check his weight and body condition score regularly, as your dog’s needs will change throughout his lifetime. Just like you can’t eat the same diet you did as a teenager, neither can your dog.
And when it comes to showing your love, a good belly rub or a rousing game of fetch are far better choices, and your dog will love them just as much.
For more information on how to get your dog to its correct weight please click here