What is obesity?
Obesity is an excessive accumulation of fat at the adipose storage areas of the body leading to increased body weight above the optimal physiological weight. Dogs weighing 15-20% or more than his optimal physiological weight are overweight; over 30% they are obese. Unfortunately, one dog in four is overweight and obesity is a rapidly growing phenomenon.
We have to be particularly careful with neutered dogs whose energetic need reduce by 30% as soon as the day after the surgery. We also need to be careful with very sedentary dogs and with some breeds known for their tendency to put on weight, like the Labrador Retriever for instance.
Problems caused by obesity
Obesity has an adverse effect on the dog’s health: decreased vitality, breathlessness, heat intolerance, increased risk of arthritis, increased risk of diabetes, increased risk of anaesthesia…
How to fight obesity?
The best treatment for obesity remains prevention as treating obesity itself is very complex. Your veterinarian will be able to tell you what diet to put your pet on and how to manage your pet’s behaviour. The dog must get a balanced ration and get the feeling of being full, so that he does not beg for food.
Tips for the dog owner: 10 don’ts
- Don’t introduce any changes to your puppy’s food the first day after taking him home.
- Don’t stand over your puppy while he is eating.
- Don’t feed your dog at the table.
- Don’t force your dog to eat, and don’t feed him from your hand.
- Don’t add anything to balanced dry food to encourage your dog to eat it.
- Don’t take your puppy’s food bowl away while he is eating.
- Don’t give titbits to your dog because you feel guilty or as a means of saying hello.
- Don’t “treat” your dog with “Sunday lunch”.
- Don’t use feeding as a way of making your dog happy.
- Don’t worry if your dog does not eat exactly the amount that is indicated on the packaging.