Obesity in Dogs: Causes and Treatment
Dog obesity - This is a disease characterized by the accumulation of excess body fat. Most obese dogs are those that eat a lot and don't move much.
The danger of obesity in dogs
Obesity is dangerous for quite serious consequences, up to a reduction in life expectancy. It also contributes to the development of a number of diseases:
- Osteoarthritis (cruciate ligament damage, dysplasia).
- Disorders of fat metabolism.
- Eye diseases.
- Blood pressure disorders.
- Cancer of the reproductive system.
- Cardiovascular diseases.
- Cushing's Syndrome.
- Renal failure.
In the photo: dog obesity
Causes of Obesity in Dogs
- Improper feeding (excluding the energy needs of dogs). For example, over-abundant feeding with a high fat content or even feeding without any restrictions.
- Treating the dog with leftovers of human food. It’s so hard to refuse this starving creature with round begging eyes!
- Lack of physical activity.
- Castration and sterilization. These procedures reduce the metabolic rate, change metabolism, affect the level of estrogen and androgen (female and male sex hormones).
- Genetic predisposition. Some breeds are more likely to be obese than others. At risk: Labradors, dachshunds, collies, Cocker Spaniels, bulldogs, beagles, pugs, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Cairn Terriers.
- Age.Age dogs (over 6 years old) are more prone to obesity.
- Medications that affect the appetite and metabolism of dogs. These are benzodiazepines, barbiturates, glucocorticoids.
- Diseases: Cushing's disease, diseases of the pituitary and pancreas, hypothyroidism.
In the photo: dog obesity
Symptoms of Obesity in Dogs
- Excess adipose tissue.
- Weight gain.
- Inactivity (the dog does not want or is unable to actively move).
How to determine the condition of the dog
Diagnosis of obesity includes weighing the dog and assessing the general condition of the body. The veterinarian examines the dog, probes the ribs, lower back, head and tail. It then compares the results with the breed standard.
- Exhaustion. The dog weighs 20% less than normal. The spine, ribs, and pelvic bones are clearly visible (in shorthair dogs). Muscle mass is not enough. Fat deposits around the chest are not felt.
- Below the norm. The dog weighs 10 - 20% less than normal. You can see the ribs, pelvic bones, spinous processes of the vertebrae. The waist is clearly defined. Fat deposits around the chest are not felt.
- The optimal weight. The ribs are not visible, but are easily palpated. The waist is visible. In the chest area, you can feel a thin layer of adipose tissue.
- Above the norm. The dog weighs 10 - 20% more than normal. Ribs and vertebrae are difficult to palpate. Waist is not visible. Fat deposits are clearly visible along the spine and near the base of the tail.
- Obesity. The dog weighs 40% more than normal. Fat deposits are clearly visible on the chest, at the base of the tail and along the spine. Belly droops.
Dog obesity treatment
The main area of treatment for obesity in dogs is weight loss.
1. Making a balanced diet, taking into account the individual characteristics of the dog. Formula for estimating energy requirements to maintain optimal weight:
Mer(kcal) = (body weight - kg) x 132 x 0.75 kcal per day.
That is, if a dog weighs 15 kg, then on average it needs to maintain 937 kcal per day to maintain optimal body weight.
However, keep in mind that this is only an approximate calculation, because the metabolism of each dog is unique.
2. Exclusion from the diet of sweet, flour and fatty.
3. The maximum reduction in cereal consumption.
4. Reducing the amount of diet. If you reduce the diet of the dog by 20 - 25%, you can achieve a smooth weight loss by 1 - 2% in 1 week.
5. If your dog is eating dry food, choose foods that are low in fat and protein.
6. Gradually increase physical activity. Start with quiet, long walks and gradually increase time and intensity by monitoring your dog’s general condition.
7. An extreme measure is the use of drugs to reduce appetite and reduce the absorption of fats. However, only a veterinarian prescribes such drugs. Self-medication can only harm the health of the dog.
Do not forget that the main principle is consistency and gradualness.