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CANINE: Obesity

 

 Canine%20obesity

I have been told that my dog is obese and must be put on a diet. Is this true?

In people, over two-thirds of all Americans and Canadians are overweight and over one-third (33%) of all adults are obese. Unfortunately, this same number now applies to our pets. Obesity leads to several diseases, both in pets and people. Type II diabetes, heart disease and arthritis are the most common weight-related disorders.

 

Diet and weight reduction are key things you can control to help your pet live as long and healthy a life as possible.

 

What is obesity?

Obesity is generally defined as weighing 30% more than the ideal weight for a given pet. With humans, the ideal weight can usually be determined by consulting weight and height charts. Since there are so many different breeds and body conformations in dogs, the ideal weight is determined by using a combination of weight charts and body scoring.

 

A simplified form of body scoring follows:

VERY THIN

 

RIBS - Easily felt with no fat covering
TAIL BASE - Bones protrude with no tissue between the skin and bone
SIDE VIEW - Severe abdominal tuck or "drawn" appearance
OVERHEAD VIEW - Exaggerated hourglass shape

 

UNDERWEIGHT

RIBS - Easily felt with no fat covering
TAIL BASE - Bones are raised with little tissue between the skin and bone
SIDE VIEW - Abdominal tuck
OVERHEAD VIEW - Significant hourglass shape

IDEAL

RIBS - Easily felt with slight (<1/2") fat cover
TAIL BASE - Smooth but bones can be felt under a thin layer of fat
SIDE VIEW - Abdominal tuck
OVERHEAD VIEW - Well-proportioned waist is present

OVERWEIGHT

RIBS - Difficult to feel with moderate (>1/2") fat cover
TAIL BASE - Some thickening, but bones can be felt under a moderate layer of fat
SIDE VIEW - No abdominal tuck or waist
OVERHEAD VIEW - Back is slightly broadened

OBESE

RIBS - Difficult to feel under thick fat cover
TAIL BASE - Thickened and difficult to feel under a thick layer of fat
SIDE VIEW - Fat hangs down from the abdomen and there is no waist
OVERHEAD VIEW - Markedly wide

 

If my dog is overweight, will his behavior change?

Most overweight or obese dogs are less active and do not play as much as normal dogs. These pets may be reluctant to climb stairs or jump into cars and often pant excessively after very minor exertion.  

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