Many people tend to overfeed their dogs. This is especially a risk when there are children in the household. Dogs are very willing to eat all dropped food and older children tend to sneak their dog treats or share what they are eating with them. Guess what, adults do the same thing as well.
If the dog is a large dog, they can often handle the extra food. But small dogs cannot and quickly become overweight. Because owners do not weight their dogs at home, the weight can slowly accumulate until one day the owner notices that the dog has gotten fat.
The other contributing factor to overweight in dogs is that owners often do not exercise the dog as much as they need. Bigger dogs need longer exercise sessions since their stride covers more ground than a small dog. Many people do not have the stamina or space to properly exercise a large dog.
Just like people, dogs suffer health issues from being overweight. It can be hard for an owner to put their dog on a diet. Those begging eyes are hard to resist when you know that your dog is hungry because you have put them on a diet.
The good news is that a study conducted at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign campus has found that by putting a dog on a reduced calorie – high protein and fiber diet for 24 weeks reduced weight in dogs. It also showed that dogs body composition and inflammatory markers changed for the better and they did not lose muscle mass.
Keep a close watch on your dog, especially if family members tend to share their food with the dog to make sure that they are not gaining too much weight. If they do, consult with your veterinarian to determine which dietary food your dog should be on. With extra care, you can help your dog live a long, healthy life.