Terrifying numbers: 50 percent of all women are overweight, and even 70 percent of men! One in five is therefore considered to be “obese” (BMI higher than 30), a condition that massively affects human health. In dogs it sees – thank goodness! – Not quite as bad: The estimates of overweight in dogs – depending on the definition – are already between 20 and 40 percent. And also with an increasing proportion, so no all-clear can be given here. In addition, a dog owner may not really care about the actual general percentage if it is his dog who is overweight.
But how do you know that your dog is overweight? In contrast to humans, there is no general BMI in dogs that is used to calculate overweight. So it is not enough to put the size of the dog in relation to the weight. The reason for this is simple: the ideal weight (and thus the excess weight) varies depending on the breed. Therefore, dog owners should regularly scan the dog for “love handles””. The simple rule applies that the dog’s ribs must be palpable without any particular pressure. If you are not sure whether the dog has too much “bacon on the ribs”, you should specifically ask the veterinarian.
Reasons for being overweight in dogs
Even when it comes to the reasons for being overweight, dogs are not so different from humans, here too there are many. Most often, however, the combination of too many “treats” or wrong and too much dog food in combination with lack of exercise must be mentioned. If a dog is slightly overweight, it is often enough to screw back a little while feeding – especially with the treats – and to exercise more physically on the dog.
While a small excess weight is still relatively easy to fight with high-quality dog food and more exercise, several kilograms excess weight are a considerable problem for the dog. The reason for this lies in the vicious circle of excess weight: they are reluctant to doze and prefer to doze. This is because the animals not only have to move more kilos, but also the joint damage caused by the overweight in the dogs. What at first glance looks like laziness can be due to the fact that the dog already feels joint pain when walking and therefore does not want to move!
Special case castration
Castration is a special case. Males that are neutered change their metabolism. In accordance with the new need for calories, proteins and nutrients, the animal’s diet must also be changed. Dog owners should therefore always keep an eye on the weight of the animal in the weeks after castration before the vicious circle of overweight and sluggishness sets in.
What to do if the dog is overweight?
The first step to a normal-weight dog is always that the dog owners internalize that overweight is not a trivial offense, even in dogs. Not only that the dog gets digestive and circulatory problems. The additional kilos also have an enormous impact on the bones and joints. The life expectancy of the animal is noticeably shortened due to being overweight, the quality of life deteriorates – in the case of severe overweight, one can even speak of cruelty to animals.
But what helps with overweight? First, the dog food should be readjusted. However, dog owners should not only look at the quantity alone, but also at the food itself. High-quality dog food consists primarily of good meat and nutritious vegetables, which the dog can digest and utilize much better than cheap food. Next, the treats should be reduced – and greatly. In parallel to the changed feeding of the animal, it must be ensured that the animal moves more. And not only should you walk the dog more often and for longer, but you also have to play and play more and more diversely so that the animal is properly spent and the fun is not neglected. Last but not least, the dog owner should also consider dog sport – this combines exercise, fun and socializing with other dogs and dog owners, which is a good answer to being overweight in dogs.