One of the easiest ways to keep your dog healthy is to make sure they don’t gain too much weight. Obviously, we don’t want a dog that’s too thin, nor do we want to resist their cute begging faces when it’s time for treats.
But, when a dog gains too much weight, it puts a lot of stress on their system – both inside and out.
What Factors Can Make a Dog Become Overweight?
The most common cause of obesity in dogs is overeating. Some breeds like Beagles and hounds are classic, well-known over-eaters.
And, many owners hate to restrict their dog’s food when they notice that there’s been weight gain. But, the reality is that you don’t have to force your dog onto some extreme diet to get them to lose the unwanted pounds.
Improve the Quality of Dog Food
There are scientists that believe that lack of nutrition in the American diet is a major contributor to the obesity problem among humans. Simply, we are eating more food than necessary because the food we eat lacks the nutrients our bodies need.
The same goes for dogs.
Cheap food offend mean cheap ingredients. If you feed your dog a kibble full of fillers, they’ll need to, and want to, eat more to get the nutrition they need.
If you are on a tight budget, you can increase your pup’s nutrition without spending a lot of money. Making homemade chicken broth and adding it to their food will provide them with a host of healthy vitamins and minerals. And, it costs almost nothing to produce.
Adding ground pumpkin to their food will help add vitamins and fiber, and will also help your dog feel more full when eating.
If you can afford the good stuff, look for ingredients that are considered “suitable for humans.” This means that the food in the bag isn’t old, mold, or couldn’t pass the test for people to eat it. Look for ingredients like: beef, fish, chicken, eggs, vegetables, fruits as the first 5 ingredients listed.
Lack of Exercise and Activity
Just like us, if your dog doesn’t exercise, they’ll gain weight. Puppies and young dogs avoid this problem because they have so much energy to burn, but even young dogs can gain weight.
And, as your dog passes into adulthood, their need for exercise increases.
Plus, walking, working out, and playing not only helps control their weight, but it helps their muscles, bones, joints, organs, and mental health.
Can Medical Problems Make Your Dog Become Overweight?
If you are feeding them great food and exercising with them, but they’re still gaining too much weight, then it’s time to see the vet.
There are a few medical causes of obesity:
- Hypothyroidism – suppressed thyroid can lead to serious weight gain. Can be treated with medication combined with better eating and exercise
- Cushing’s Disease – this disease causes a problem in your pup’s adrenal glands. This leads to a disruption in your dog’s metabolism. Your vet may be able to treat this problem with medication
- Pituitary Gland Diseases – because the pituitary gland is the “master gland,” problems here can cause the whole system to go out of whack. This includes weight gain.
- Diabetes – much like with people, diabetes can cause fat gain. And, it’s tough to tell if weight gain caused the problem or did diabetes cause he weight gain. But, the most important thing is to have your vet help you. Losing fat, especially in the mid section, can help fight diabetes in your pup
Track Their Food and Activity Levels
Feed your dog the best food you can afford, in sensible portions.