This is not good. I have just read the results of an Australian Veterinary Association study that showed that around 41% of Aussie dogs are overweight or obese. I know there’s an obesity problem in people but it’s sad to see that dogs are also affected, and it is just as harmful to them. They get joint pain, diabetes, heart disease and infections in the folds of their skin.
There are some medical conditions that can make dogs a bit curvy around the middle, but they’re not common. 95% of cases of canine obesity are because there are more calories going in than are being burned up.
Under normal circumstances, dogs can only eat what they are given, so it is totally the owners fault if their dog is fat. Yep, that’s harsh but it had to be said, because these dogs are in danger of being loved and treated to death. Another piece of veterinary research discovered that if dogs were kept lean and their food intake was restricted, they lived almost two years longer than their fat littermates. Wouldn’t you like to have your beloved dog around for two more years? I know I would.
So, if your dog is fat ( no more gentle words like obese or overweight, they are fat!), what do you do about it. Firstly, call your vet. Rule out any medical conditions such as Cushings Disease or hypothyroidism that might be affecting your dog’s metabolism. If all is okay, it’s time for some will power. Yours, not your dog’s.
Change his diet. If the budget allows, choose a prescription weight loss diet but if not, just a low fat one is fine. Feed him less, and turn away from his pleading brown eyes. No more snacks either, unless you steam some diced carrot, or warm up some frozen peas. They have virtually no calories.
It may not be possible for your dog to start the Pooch to 5k program if he is grossly overweight because too much running might hurt his joints. Check with your vet before you start and if it’s a no-go, think about taking your dog swimming until he has lost some condition. Then you can take him out for a run.
Obesity is no laughing matter, it really is a terminal disease. Do something about it now.