Dog Friendly Tips: Overweight
Obesity in dogs can be prevented or treated with diet and exercise.
Sudden unexpected weight gain or loss should always be investigated by your vet to rule out an underlying health problem, involving thyroid complications or other serious diseases.
Conditions stemming from obesity are fast becoming the number one health problem for senior dogs. As owners put on weight and habitually over eat some can over feed their dogs, perhaps wishing to share the pleasure of eating with their furry companion.
When I went to Russia for a month I left a reasonably slim Jack in the care of Castle staff. In those days we had a busy call centre and the castle hotel side was quieter, so staff would buy takeaways, feeding Jack loads of left over chips and junk food.
When I returned he had put on a huge amount of weight and walked at a sedate pace where he used to run around with great gusto. Where Jack had once run up and down the hills and mountainsides, now he stuck to the footpaths and waddled rather than walked.
So he went back to regular dog food and no snacks or treats allowed from anyone else. Staff were told not to feed him. Where before I used to top up his biscuits bowl on an as-needed basis, now he got just one regular meal a day, with more protein and fewer dog biscuits. Within a few weeks he was back to correct weight.
Since then he has maintained a nice slim weight which, for a Golden Retriever, is a good result. He once again bounds about with gusto and enthusiasm, light on his feet, and runs at full pelt - no more sedate walks for Jack.
Golden Retrievers and Labradors and certain other relaxed breeds are more inclined to put on weight, while the typically 'hyper' and excitable dog breeds have a higher metabolism and are less likely to pile on the pounds. So the metabolism of your dog has to be taken into account. I do not understand why some people let their labradors get so bulky; it just isn't good for them and is quite unnecessary.
Diet is necessary to maintain weight at optimum levels and unlike a human, a dog cannot be tempted to give up their diet plan unless a human intervenes and gives them treats or just overfeeds them.