Canine Obesity



A Chubby Puppy

I read a recent statistic that said: Today, dogs are fatter than ever. It’s now estimated that 45% of all U.S. dogs are either overweight or obese. That’s over 30 million dogs!

Veterinarians also reported that although nearly 50% of all the dogs they see are overweight, only 17% of pet owners agree. It is hard to recognize (or admit) sometimes for pet parents but as in humans, obesity can be life-threatening for dogs too. An overweight dog is more likely to suffer from a disabling medical condition like…

  • Diabetes
  • Arthritis
  • Heart disease
  • Lung disorders
  • High blood pressure
  • Immune dysfunction
  • Cancerous tumors

A friend of mine has a toy poodle mix and on his recent trip to the Vet he was only a few pounds shy of being labelled obese. She was in shock! He looks fit and jumps and plays like any normal, healthy little pup but the scales told a different story. The vet suggested carrots and green beans instead of turkey jerky for treats. She also suggested he wasn’t moving enough and needed more activity.

My friend knew that on some level already but being a full-time working mom means she doesn’t get to take her baby to the park or on a walk as much as she would like, so he spends much of his time playing at home with his toys and probably sleeping and lounging when she isn’t around.

So, how can we help our babies stay healthy? Especially when our schedules are packed full of a million things to do in a day?

Here are some tips:

  • Set aside 15-20 minutes per day to focus only on moving those doggie muscles. We find time to incorporate a trip to the gym or a yoga session into our day, so let’s aim to do the same for them!
  • Substitute healthier snacks- dogs love the crunch of carrots and their eyes and livers will thank you too!
  • Be sure you give them plenty of room to run… like small children- young dogs especially, have tons of unreleased energy they need to express, so let them run!!!! Take them to a beach or a dog park where they can get off the leash and be free, keeping in mind their safety of course.
  • Be mindful of what you put in their bellies when no one is looking- a few nibbles here and there can cause a pound or two to creep and peep. Remember, canned or home-cooked foods have higher protein, lower carbohydrates and fewer calories compared to a similar sized quantity of kibble.

So next time you visit your Vet, be sure to ask what the ideal weight should be for your four-legged friend and start thinking about their health too.



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