“The heavier the weight, the higher the number of illnesses.” You may have heard your nutritionist say that on many occasions. But are you aware that the same rule applies to our pets?
According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 56% of dogs in the world were considered obese in 2018, which is approximately 50 million dogs.
Is obesity a serious concern amongst dogs as well? It wouldn’t have been if it hadn’t brought the pack of illnesses with itself. So, let’s take a glance at some of the most common diseases caused due to obesity in dogs.
Diseases in dogs caused by obesity
The higher weight puts pressure on the joints, which eventually damages the cartilage (a cushion for the joints). The damaged cartilage provokes inflammation.
(It is the process by which white blood cells protect the body against external invaders.)
When inflammation is caused without external invaders, the immune system acts as if regular tissues are infected. This results in the production of low-quality joint fluid, which translates into unbearable pain in the joints.
- Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL)
Anterior cruciate ligament is one of the most important ligaments which connects the femur (thigh bone) and tibia (shin bone). It helps to keep the knee stable. But sometimes, because of excess weight, these ligament tears which could result in knee thickening and swelling of the dog.
- Cardiovascular diseases
When there is excess fat in the body, a certain amount of fat enters the arteries, which carry the blood to your heart. These fats may obstruct or damage the heart.
- Tumour Development
The National Cancer Institute has stated that “Obesity and physical inactivity may account for 25-30% of major cancers.” Excessive fat in your body affects certain processes in the body, which increases the risk of tumours and cancers in the body.
- Anaesthesia Risk
During anaesthesia, the obese dog might feel some difficulty while expanding the chest. So, the heart and lungs have to work harder. Because of that the dog will sleep a lot. There’s even the possibility of death in this condition.
- Dermatology issues
Obesity gets unhealthy skin along, which is prone to infections. Obese dogs might have extra folds in their skin, which sometimes irritates the dogs and leads to redness, scratching and body odour.
- Quality and quantity of life
It goes without saying that when pet obesity becomes a health concern, their lifespan decreases by two years. Your pet might feel tired throughout the day due to bad quality of life and instead of playing they might rest all day.
How to help obese dogs?
- Replace excessive carbs with proteins, vitamins and minerals
Serve your dog fewer carbs and more chicken with plenty of veggies. (Vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, green beans, etc.)
- Allow your pet for healthy snacking
Everybody, be it pets or humans, feels hungry between meals. Thus, do not restrict your pet to snack, but make sure it is a healthy snack. Such as eggs, banana or watermelon.
- Take your dog for walks, runs, and swimming
Exercising is important to both humans and dogs. Exercise helps your dog to be active, reduces obesity and also extends its life
- Make sure your pets drink a lot of water.
Hydration is the first key to a healthy body, without enough water your pet might not feel energetic. A dog should drink between 20 and 25 millilitres of water every 24 hours.
- Control portion sizes
Your pet might overeat sometimes, which will result in obesity. Make sure to look after their portion sizes, so they neither overeat nor under-eat.
How will my Dog react to new dietary changes?
- Skipping meals.
Your dog may not eat as the first; let him miss meals for 1-2 days. Do not worry, dogs have the stamina for fasting.
- Asking for unhealthy stuff.
Your dog might keep asking for unhealthy stuff. He may appear desperate to eat what he has been eating, but be strong and ignore.
- Will not be friendly for a few days.
Your dog might show up, unpleasant and might not enjoy a few days, but they must learn to be fit for their own health improvement. So, don’t react to their behaviour.
- Diarrhea or puking.
New changes in diet can cause diarrhoea or vomiting. Don’t panic. Do it again as soon as they feel better. But this time, start with a mixture of old and new food and gradually decrease the amount of old food.
Help your dog to be nourished. They may crave unhealthy food, but remember that you love them too much to watch them with many diseases. They may not be aware of the importance of dietary change, but you know. So, ignore their puppy face and your dogs way of getting what it wants Just be strong and support them in the right way.
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