Like people, healthy dogs become overweight or obese when there is an imbalance between the amount of calories consumed and the calories burned

Like people, healthy dogs become overweight or obese when there is an imbalance between the amount of calories consumed and the calories burned. Logic would lead us to conclude, then, that an overweight dog is likely receiving either too many calories, too little exercise or a combination of the two. Be aware that certain health conditions such as diabetes or thyroid problems can be underlying causes of obesity in dogs, making it important that you seek appropriate testing and veterinary care if there are signs that your dog is overweight, or if sudden changes in his weight occur. If health problems are ruled out as the root of your dog’s weight problem, an appropriate combination of calorie control and exercise is likely all it will take to get your best friend back to a healthy size.

“But,” you may be thinking, “my dog doesn’t even eat that much!” Or does he? Many dog owners neglect to consider the caloric value of treats and human food fed to dogs, which can pack a lot of calories when consumed in addition to the dog’s regular food. Even little bits of treats and human food now and then can add up to an excess of calories, resulting in your dog reaching an unhealthy weight. Since health problems can compound as a result of being overweight, it is important to address increases in your dog’s weight as soon as signs are evident. It is easier to get a dog’s weight under control from an early stage than to tackle obesity and a slew of consequent health issues later.

Feeding your dog too many treats and table scraps is an easy enough habit to reverse. Sure, your dog appears to be in bliss when you finally cave to his begging at the table, but chances are your mannerisms and tone of voice have conditioned him to believe that table scraps are exciting. If you want to see a happy dog without putting him at risk of being overweight, how about taking him for a walk or run instead! In addition to appropriate caloric intake, dogs need exercise to maintain a healthy weight as well as overall good health. If your dog does not receive any extras besides his regular food, the type or amount of food he consumes may be the culprit for weight gain. The best plan of action is to consult with your veterinarian regarding the appropriate feeding and exercise plan to meet your dog’s individual needs. Your veterinarian may also suggest specific types of food and treats that will contribute to a healthy diet.

Many people believe that a dog is too thin if any of the dog’s ribs are visible, though this can actually be a sign of a healthy weight. Determining whether your dog is a healthy weight is best left to your veterinarian, who can use your dog’s breed, health and history to advise you on a fitting food and exercise regimen.

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