Fat dogs

A lean, mean canine machine is a beautiful sight. 

When I am out and about with my guys we often run into dogs who need to shed a few pounds. Sometimes we meet dogs that need to lose more than a few.  It is always sad to me to see dogs carrying around weight that they need not carry. We ran into young dog at the park the other day.  Elsa has played with him quite a bit over the last few months.  He is about 5 months younger than she is and when we saw him I was shocked.  At 8 months old he looked like a 7-8 year old fat dog.  He ran over to us huffing and puffing; he was hefty to say the least.

Having an overweight or obese dog often goes unnoticed by owners.  The weight could have been creeping up slowly and they just didn't notice.  Sadly many pet parents are made aware of the issue when it has already done damage.  Joint damage, liver and/or kidney damage, heart problems etc. etc.  There are so many fallout health issues related to being overweight.   Dogs who are overweight also risk living a shortened life which is horrific without all the other ailments that can occur before that.

Many people have told me that my dogs are skinny.  Yes I agree that Luke is skinny, very skinny but much of his "too skinny" appearance is actually due to low muscle mass.  Elsa only weighs in at a few pounds more than Luke and although many people would consider her to be skinny as well, I believe that she is perfect.  She is highly active and extra pounds would cause her to haul the extra weight around putting stress on her joints and tendons.

How fat is too fat?  On a very tiny dog a couple of pounds can be too fat.  My little Jack Russell gained weight easily and I often had to cut back so that she could drop a few.  A few pounds on a 15 lb body is a lot.  Even with two extra pounds I could see a difference in her behavior.  Once she lost those couple of pounds she'd be back to her crazy self again.  Weight can spin into a dangerous cycle; a few pounds and you don't feel like moving as much.  When you don't move you put on weight.

The big secret to weight loss is cutting back on calorie intact and moving.  That's it.  Better food fuel into the body helps to create high performance.  If you have an overweight dog, start today.  You must start slowly if you have not been giving your dog the appropriate amount of exercise up to this point.  Begin with tiny walks and build on length and intensity to build a healthier dog.  Weight is a burden for both people and dogs; losing it can be a challenge.  Too much weight on our dog is all on us.  Dogs do not put weight on themselves.  They don't reach for a bowl of potato chips or plate of donuts like we do.

When cutting back don't skimp on nutrients.  Simply cut back on the amount of high quality food, do not buy into the 'diet' foods.  Below are some good sites about dog weight.

Pet education

Biggest Loser - Obie the obese Dachshund

Pet obesity prevention

The life we share with our dogs is far too short, don't make it shorter and less productive by creating a fat dog.