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|Is Your Dog Overweight?
If your dog is overweight, talk to your veterinarian. Your veterinarian can recommend an ideal weight range for your dog and help formulate a safe and effective weight loss plan.
Begin by evaluating your dog’s food. Check the label; has it been formulated according to AAFCO standards? Your veterinarian can recommend a weight loss diet that ensures your pet receives the right balance of protein, carbohydrates, and other nutrients, while supporting successful weight loss.
Nutritional counseling from your veterinarian, along with daily exercise, can help your dog successfully lose weight and live a long, active life.
Obesity is on the rise, and not just for humans. Dogs are increasingly overweight and even obese. In the United States, an estimated 43 million dogs are overweight or obese - that’s over half of all dogs! And it is not just dogs in the United States that need to lose a few pounds - canine obesity is also a problem in Canada, Europe, Australia and other countries worldwide.
Canine obesity increases the risk for osteoarthritis, insulin resistance, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart and respiratory problems, kidney disease, some types of cancer, and cranial cruciate ligament injury. Thanks to these increased health problems, overweight dogs face a decreased life expectancy of up to 2.5 years.
Even if your dog is just a couple pounds over his ideal weight, those few pounds could make a big difference to your dog's health. For example, a 7lb Pomeranian is considered to be a “healthy” weight and the equivalent of a 145lb, 5’ 4” human female. An extra five pounds on the Pomeranian, however, is the equivalent to a 249lb female, which is more than 100lbs over the female’s ideal body weight. Just a few extra pounds really will make a big difference for your dog’s health.
Why are so many dogs overweight? Unfortunately, some pet owners are literally killing their dogs with too much food and too many treats! For example, only one ounce of cheese for a 20 pound dog is the equivalent of 1.5 hamburgers for the average woman! While dog owners may never intentionally mean to hurt their pet, overfeeding, lack of exercise, and poor dietary choices have led to a pet obesity crisis.
A lack of outdoor exercise is also a problem. Busy pet owners who work long hours simply don’t have the time to take their dog for longs walks, runs or play fetch. Together, too much food and a lack of exercise is the perfect recipe for dog obesity.
Early intervention will help overweight dogs get healthy. Your veterinarian can recommend the right diet and exercise program to help your dog lose the extra pounds.
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Don't take a good vet for granted, that's what I say. I currently live in another state and have taken my 10 year old dog to numerous vets over the years (California, Colorado, Vegas, and then some). Never have I ever received the attention and care I've gotten w/Dr. Hines. Within the past 3 months alone, my dog went to 3 different vets for a horrible and painful skin problem that broke out all over her body.
The first vet: I spent more time ponying up the $175 for the visit than the Dr. spent actually looking at my dog. He performed a woods lamp exam for ringworm. Even without Google or a veterinary degree, I could tell it wasn't ringworm. Thanks for taking my money.
Second vet: "Here's some spray, now here's your bill. Bring her back in two weeks so I can charge you another visit." No tests, nothing.
Between the two, I felt like I got nowhere. No definitive answer on why this affected my dog and the medication given wasn't even for a diagnosed condition. Just some general topical spray. I could have bought it at Petsmart and saved myself the time and money.
Recently, on a visit to Idaho, I planned ahead to bring my dog to the Rupert Animal Clinic. I asked the same questions, had the same concerns and now have different results. Dr. Hines gave me options on what route to take, ran appropriate tests and communicated with me every step of the way (even calling me personally when test results came in). My primary concern was cancer. Our dog is like our child- we'll pay the money if we can keep her healthy and safe. In the future, I've resolved to bring my dog to Rupert Animal Clinic on our annual trip for all of her exams. I know she won't be treated as a little cash cow to exploit an owner's love for pets.