We love our pups and want them to have the happiest, healthiest, and longest life possible. That said, we need to keep an eye on their weight. Dog obesity is a real problem — the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention reports that more than 50% of dogs are overweight — and it can cause all sorts of health issues, like joint problems and heart disease.

Photo via Scenthound

Let’s take a closer look at what causes dog obesity and some tips for preventing and treating it.

What is Dog Obesity? 

Obesity is a condition that occurs when your dog carries excess body fat. This can be caused by several factors, including overfeeding, lack of exercise, and certain medical conditions. Obesity is more common in certain breeds and can occur at any age.   

Why is Dog Obesity a Concern? 

Obesity in dogs can lead to a range of health problems, including: 

  • Arthritis and joint problems 
  • Heart Disease 
  • Diabetes 
  • Respiratory issues 
  • Skin problems
  • Cancer 

Plus, when our pups are carrying too much weight, it can mess with their quality of life. They might not be as active or playful (and that’s no fun for anyone), which can even shorten their lifespan!  

How You Can Help Your Dog:

  1. Weight Checks: One way to tell if your dog is overweight is by monitoring their weight regularly at home and monthly routine care visits at Scenthound. Keeping track of your dog’s weight can help you catch any potential weight gain early on and take action to prevent further weight gain.
  1. Provide A Balanced Diet: Choose a high-quality, nutritionally balanced diet with real meat and vegetables and follow the recommended feeding guidelines. Avoid artificial ingredients or fillers. Measure your dog’s food based on age, breed, and activity level to avoid overfeeding. Keep track of how much food your dog eats and any extra treats or scraps they’re getting.
  1. Limit Treats: Treats can quickly add up in calories and contribute to weight gain. Limit your dog’s treats to healthy, low-calorie options, or try offering them fruits and vegetables instead.
  1. Increase Exercise: Exercise is essential for dogs of all ages and can help prevent obesity. Take your dog for walks, runs, or playtime in the yard to help them stay active and burn calories. Aim for 30 minutes of exercise every day. Start slow and gradually increase the length and intensity of the exercise over time. If your dog is older or has joint issues, try low-impact activities like swimming or walking in water, which won’t stress your pup’s joints.
  1. Provide Mental Stimulation: Don’t forget about your dog’s mental health. Puzzle toys and games can help keep your dog happy, healthy, and entertained.
  1. Consult With A Virtual Vet: Before starting any weight loss plan for your dog, it’s essential to consult with a veterinarian. Scenthound’s virtual vet can help you determine a safe and healthy target weight for your dog and provide guidance on appropriate diet and exercise.

Following these tips can help your overweight dog shed those extra pounds and get back to a healthy weight. Remember to consult with your veterinarian, measure your dog’s food, choose high-quality dog food, limit treats, increase exercise, consider low-impact exercise, provide mental stimulation, and monitor progress. With a little patience and dedication, your dog can live a long, healthy, and happy life.

Do you have questions about how to keep your pup healthy and happy throughout its entire life? Contact your local Scenthound team for a consultation.