Excessive weight gain has become the most common preventable disease seen in dogs throughout the United States. Obesity is a major concern in dogs because it can increase their risk of getting a variety of serious medical conditions: diabetes mellitus, joint damage and arthritis, kidney and pancreatic disease, cardiovascular issues, bladder and urinary tract disease, skin problems and cancer. Fortunately, losing weight can help these patients reduce that risk and even reverse some of the effects of these conditions.
Dogs are considered overweight if they weigh 10-20% more than their ideal weight and obese if they are over 20% above it. Our veterinarians can determine your dogs ideal weight, set a weight loss goal and determine your dog's food intake. It is important that dogs do not lose weight too quickly, as this could mean they are missing out on essential nutrients, which could lead to other health problems. We recommend switching to a therapeutic weight loss diet that is designed to ensure that your dog still gets all of the nutrients that they need but with fewer calories with weigh-ins at the clinic every 2-3 weeks to monitor weight loss.
In addition to regulating their food intake, making lifestyle changes to increase your dog's daily activity to help them burn extra calories. Simple activities like walks, play dates, and playing fetch in the backyard a few times a day can be extremely beneficial for meeting your dog's weight loss goals and keeping the weight off in the future.
Fortunately, as owners, we can make some simple dietary and lifestyle changes to help our dogs maintain a healthy weight that will increase not only the length but the quality of their life.