Four Things That Are Putting Your Dog at Risk of Being Obese

Just like with humans one the greatest causes of your dog's obesity is too many calories in and not enough calories out. While you may enjoy giving your pet extra snacks and treats, if your pet is not very active, these often simply add up to extra calories. Furthermore, some of the other things that put you at risk of being obese can also affect your pet. Knowing what these are is the first step in being able to address them.

The Things That Are Making Your Pet Overweight

There is an obesity epidemic taking place in this country and it is not just affecting humans. It is affecting the pets that are a part of the human households. It is estimated that more than 52% of dogs in the United States are overweight or obese. Here are a few reasons why.

Genetics—Just like with their human companions, genetics can play a role in a pet's potential for obesity. Certain breeds of pets, especially dogs, are more likely to have a weight problem than others. Some of these breeds include basset hounds, cocker spaniels, retrievers, dachshunds, rottweilers, sheepdogs, and various other types.

Activity Level—Due to limited space, smaller yards, and leash laws and ordinances, gone are the days that many pets are allowed to run all day outside. Many pets are now indoor pets, kenneled, or confined to a small yard. Even when you take your pet for a walk, the pace of your walk may not be enough to allow your pet to achieve cardio benefits.

The amount of activity needed by your pet is based on its age and breed as well as its overall health. This amount could vary, but it is suggested that this time should be between 30 minutes to two hours each day. If your dog is from a herding, working, or hunting breed, they should be provided with rigorous exercise along with activity time each day.

Diet—Many pet foods are not balanced diets. They are often high in unhealthy fats and carbohydrates. It is important that you read your labels and understand exactly what you are feeding your pet.

Feeding Schedules—Just like you will gain weight if you walk and graze all day, so will your pet. Keeping your dog's bowl constantly full throughout the day or overfilling its bowl at the beginning of the day so that it will not be hungry is not healthy. Pets will overeat for some of the same reasons that people overeat. They will overeat due to the fact that they are bored, experiencing other emotions, or simply because the food is there.

A specific amount of high-quality dog food should be placed in your pet's bowl and only left there for a specified period of time. Once that time period has passed, you should remove any remaining food until it's the next time for your pet to eat. This not only trains your pet to eat on schedule, it reduces the chances of it grazing or overeating throughout the day. This also makes housebreaking your pet much easier.

How You Can Help Your Pet Reach or Stay at a Healthy Weight

You are your pet's best chance of remaining at a healthy weight. Although some of their problems with obesity may be inherited, most of them are due to habits that you control.

Meet with your veterinarian and come up with a plan to help to reduce your pet's weight. The vet will help to you to determine the following, among other things:

  • The proper amount for your pet to weigh
  • The amount and type of exercise that is appropriate
  • The type of diet your dog needs
  • The amount of food your dog needs

While changing habits is hard, when the changes involve reducing your pet's obesity, they can be worthwhile. They can literally help to extend your dog's lifespan. To find a vet for more advice, look at a website like