Spread that holiday cheer, without obesity fear!

Holidays and festivals are the time when we tend to gain a lot of weight. The same is true for your pets as well, especially if they are of these 10 breeds. Read on to know the 10 most susceptible breeds prone to obesity.

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Garima Singhal and Boo

If you have noticed too many Labradors with a bit of a paunch, latest research suggests that it might not be entirely the pet parent’s fault. Labrador Retrievers top the charts for obesity in the USA, UK, Canada and Australia, and pretty much all over the world.

It’s all in the genes

Researchers have analyzed the genes related to obesity in dogs and humans. There is a gene variation found in Labrador Retrievers, as found by the scientists at The University of Cambridge. In a study published in the journal Cell Metabolism, a team led by researchers at the Wellcome Trust-Medical Research Council Institute of Metabolic Science, University of Cambridge, after studying 310 pet and assistance Labradors, they searched for variants of three candidate obesity related genes. The team also assessed ‘food motivation’ using a questionnaire in which pet parents reported their pet’s behavior related to food.

The researchers found that a variant of one gene in particular, known as POMC, was strongly associated with weight, obesity, and appetite in Labradors. About 25% of Labradors are thought to carry at least one copy of the variant. With each copy of the gene, the dog is at least 2 kilograms heavier, an effect particularly notable given the extent to which pet parents, rather than the pet themselves, control the amount of food and exercise the dogs receive.

This is a common genetic variant in Labradors and has a significant effect on those dogs who carry it. So, it is likely that this helps explain why Labradors are more prone to being overweight in comparison to other breeds. The gene affected is known to be important in regulating how the brain recognises hunger and the feeling of being full after a meal. People who live with Labradors often say they are obsessed by food. Labradors make particularly successful working and pet dogs because they are loyal, intelligent and eager to please, and are relatively easy to train. Food is often used as a reward during training, and carrying this variant makes the pet more motivated to work in exchange for a little treat.

Pooch with paunch – breeds prone to obesity

There are other dog breeds who are prone to obesity as well, but the genetic reasons behind their obesity haven’t been proven yet. Some of them lead sedentary lifestyles in the modern world despite having been bred to hunt, others have slower metabolisms and need a lot of exercise which pet parents are unable to provide them, and some just have hidden genetic factors which haven’t yet been worked out.

Basset hounds

Even though bred to be used as hunting dogs, their physique isn’t svelte and if they are inactive pets, they quickly become obese. Their stocky frame and short legs mean they don’t run or burn calories much and tend to be lazy if left to their pet parent’s choice.

Beagles

They are very popular family pets. But they have a slow metabolism. They get over excited about food, often eating past their capacity. This might work when they are young and their bodies can deal with it, but as they age, their metabolism and activity slow down and they pack on extra kilos.

Bichon Frise’s


They can easily become obese and a few extra kilos on their small frame can exacerbate other common health issues such as diabetes, heart ailments, hypertension, or intervertebral disc disease.

Boxers


Though naturally trim and muscular, they are prone to hypothyroidism, a hormonal condition that lowers metabolism and energy levels, making them susceptible to weight gain. If you are the pet parent of a Boxer fur baby, make sure he gets the right amount of daily exercise.

Cocker Spaniels

Though originally bred as sporting dogs, Cocker Spaniels are genetically predisposed to obesity. They lead a much more sedentary life than they actually should. Obesity in this breed may cause hip, knee, and thyroid problems.

Corgis

Many people find corgis cute, but an overweight corgi can develop some serious health issues. They love food; they love pleasing people, and are very easy to train often with food rewards which tend to add on the pounds. Portion control and exercise are necessary to keep them in fit.

Dachshunds


They are genetically more prone to obesity, but the extra weight puts pressure on their sausage shaped body and spine. Due to the extra weight,they can develop painful intervertebral disc problems and other ailments. It is very important that your Dachshund pet does regular low-impact exercises to be in good shape and remain healthy and happy.

English Bulldog

Many pet parents tend to overfeed their pet because they have a perception about how the breed should look. English Bulldogs are sensitive to intense exercise or heat because their short muzzles which makes it hard for them to breathe properly. Combine these factors and this makes for some very obese English Bulldogs.

English Mastiffs

English Mastiffs have the natural predilection for lounging around the house rather than being active. While they don’t crave it like other breeds do, they need pet parents to encourage them to move and take them for regular walks.

 Pugs

While people always coo over a roly-poly pug, they aren’t meant to be chubby. Being obese is dangerous for pugs because it exacerbates the already painful breathing and cooling themselves down issues that they have due to their short snouts. Moderate exercise on a daily basis is the key to maintain their weight and overall health.It is a good idea to go for a walk and take your pet along, so that you both can remain healthy, fit, and active.

–by Garima Singhal

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