Obesity is one of the biggest health problems our dogs face today.
Dogs have mastered the art of begging and tugging at our heart-strings to win a little snack when we’re eating. And many owners like me give in too easily and too often while thinking that they’re showing love and affection.
But all these extra snacks cause a dog to gain weight. An overweight dog finds exercise tougher going, leading to more weight gain and a vicious cycle begins.
What's in this Guide?
Let me take you back to the time
A few years back I started noticing that Bella would spend a lot of time sleeping in the backyard throughout a majority of the day. At first, I thought it was totally normal until it went on for months on end.
I then noticed that she would avoid going on long walks and simply was very lazy and unplayful a lot of the time. After speaking with my husband we decided to take her to the vets. And this is what they told us:
Risks Of Obesity In Golden Retrievers
The problems can begin when a dog is just a puppy and still growing. Playing simple games like fetch or Frisbee while carrying excess weight can make a puppy highly prone to tendon and ligament injuries.
In an adult dog, there are a long list of problems directly caused by or made worse by being overweight. To name a few there are:
- Damage to joints, soft tissues, and bones
- High blood pressure, heart and respiratory diseases
- Kidney and liver disease
- Many types of cancer
- Digestive disorders
- Heat intolerance
- Weakened immune system and increased risk of infections and disease
- Increased risks during surgery under anesthetic
But the problems don’t stop there.
A dog the size of a Golden Retriever carrying too much weight will often form sores and calluses on their hocks and elbows due to the extra pressure put on these areas when laying down. And an overweight Golden lays down a lot!
Golden Retrievers as a breed are prone to hip and elbow dysplasia that’s not only made worse by carrying extra weight but also puts extra pressure on those joints causing a life of discomfort and pain.
Finally, and most importantly, the average lifespan of an overweight dog is decreased by up to 2 years, and they have a lower quality of life and maybe even unnecessary suffering during the years they do have.
Scary stuff indeed!
The Vets Saved Bellas Life!
After visiting the vets we were able to gain some valuable tips that I would like to share with you today so you can avoid such horrible experiences in the future!
Keep An Eye On Treats
Treats when training, scraps from the table, a biscuit from your children and snacks found and eaten when out and about, these all add up and sometimes to a surprisingly high amount of calories.
So the first thing you want to do is watch how many treats they’re given. If you’re giving treats when training, these calories must be subtracted from the main meal to maintain the same number of daily calories consumed.
And if your children, spouse, other family members or visitors ever give your Golden little treats, these simply must be stopped. Inform everybody and tell them why.
A simple fact is if the calories in are greater than the calories used, then a dog will gain weight. If calories in are less than the calories used then a dog will lose weight.
Exercise increases the number of calories used so it’s a great way to lose weight…as long as the number of calories going in isn’t increased to compensate.
So you should aim to increase the overall activity levels of your Golden. This will have a dramatic effect on their weight but not only this, but it will also improve their overall health in many ways as well as enrich their lives.
Choice Of Food
There are many, many different brands and types of dog food on the market. There are even some specialty ‘diet dog foods’ you can buy.
Some of these foods are high in fat, high in fillers, high in cheap low-quality foodstuff and more. Poor quality food can lead to a dog’s body working inefficiently and this can lead to weight gain.