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The canine obesity It is the main veterinary problem in Spain. The figures do not deceive. Up to 60% of dogs are overweight or obese. And this excess weight is not only an aesthetic issue, but it also translates into a series of health problems such as diabetes, hypertension, joint problems, etc. In large dogs, in addition, to the general health problems that result from Obesity adds to the overload that the joints suffer, which ends up worsening the conditions of osteoarthritis or hip dysplasia.
And what do we owe this for this excess weight in our dogs? The formula is very simple: the calories ingested exceed the needs, that is, a lot of food and little exercise. Surely more than one sounds that phrase. It is the same as in our case.
With our calculator, and knowing what your dog weighs and its breed (if it is a mestizo you will need to know its main breed) you will be able to know if the animal is below its ideal weight, weighs just enough or otherwise needs to lose some weight.
If the ideal weight calculator for dogs He has indicated that your faithful friend needs to lose weight, you can attack the task from two fronts:
Exercise: You can propose to extend the daily walk 15 minutes, or take another walk in the middle of the afternoon. If your dog likes games with ball or frisbee, get one and take a few minutes to throw it, your dog will exercise without realizing it and you will also spend quality time together. Surely over time you learn to use those minutes to disconnect from daily problems.
Food: Natural dog food is the best alternative for a balanced diet, low in carbohydrates and high in protein. But you must also control the quantity. Do not leave the feed in your feeder all day, but you should remove what you have not eaten after 10 minutes until your next meal. Also, keep in mind the prizes and sweets in the total daily amount. And above all, nothing left of the table.
You have already used the ideal weight calculator for dogs, and tells you that your dog is overweight. Nor is it for much, you may have thought. But remember that an overweight dog is now a fat dog in a few years.
Body Condition Index
The body condition index (CHF) is probably the best known and most used methodology in veterinary practice. It is a semiquantitative method of a subjective nature, which uses visual (dorsal and lateral) and palpable (thoracic cage, spinal spine, waist ...) characteristics to determine the degree of obesity. Various scoring systems consisting of 3, 5 or 9 points are used. We will use the 5 point scoring system as an example (see infographic). Based on it, a dog at its ideal weight will have a body condition of 3. Below 3, the animal will be thin and values above 3, will mean extra pounds. Each half point above the index 3 or ideal weight represents an increase of overweight of 10%. For example, a dog with a 4.5 is 30% overweight.
To assess the body condition of a dog correctly you must have some experience, but anyone can calculate the body condition of your dog in an approximate way by palpating its ribs, vertebrae, and hip and observing its waist and abdominal fold. Once we do this, we must look for the condition that best suits our dog taking into account the infographics shown below these lines.
If our dog obtains a body condition greater than 3, we should consult with his veterinarian the possibility>
Skinny or fat: How to know the weight>
Your dog's weight will depend greatly on his breed, size, sex and age. It can also influence the environment in which he lives, since a canine that lives in the countryside is likely to be much more fit than one that lives in the city, and therefore the latter must not necessarily be fat.
So, What should you observe to know if your dog is fat or skinny?
If you walk tired
If your dog has a hard time walking even when he has not done some exercise before, he may have a few extra pounds. However, if at first glance it does not seem like it, do not discard it and go to the veterinarian to make sure that your pet is not suffering from a disease that makes it difficult for him to breathe.
If you notice that your pet eats less than before, you may be losing weight. In this case, the most normal thing is that there is always a reason that leads you to eat less, so it is best to take it to the veterinarian.
Whether you see him fatter or thinner, if the change is too drastic it is better to go to the vet. Do not risk the health of your dog.
If he's skinny ...
In this case it does not consist of cramming the food animal, much less, as this could cause disorders. It is better to consult with the veterinarian and that this puts a diet of high caloric intake and nutrients that help you regain your weight without converting the food into fat.
Always keep your dog supervised, because sometimes the weight changes involve more than just a bad or poor diet. Make periodic exams to your pet to be calm that everything is fine and to take care and keep your dog healthy.
Symptoms of overweight dog
It should also be attentive to certain traits that may be symptomatic of being overweight:
- We need to loosen the collar, because it is too tight, despite the fact that the dog is already an adult and, therefore, has long stopped its growth.
- Walk with some difficulty with slow movements.
- Breathe heavily.
- It is more irritable.
- Sleep too much.
Do not forget that certain races are more likely to gain weight. Also, spaying and neutering can have an impact on their weight, since the dog will no longer consume as many calories as their activity decreases.
A priori it may seem a bit complex, so in Tractive we make it very easy with our BMI calculator. Surely it gets you out of doubt!
Do not forget to put into practice some of these valuable tips that will help you put your dog at the waist. Go for it!
Tips for overweight dogs
- Don't share your food with him. So, for example, and even if you insist with those sad eyes, don't let him eat even one of your french fries. Sometimes it is very tempting to give him leftovers. In this sense, you would do well to confine it in another room while cooking or eating.
- Measure the feed and put only the one you need. Not one more gram!
- There are specific meals for dogs very low in calories but with all the necessary nutritional contribution.
- If you have other dogs, do not feed him along with them, since he may end up swallowing the food destined for the other dog.
- Increase the frequency of the rides and their intensity, but gradually. In addition, the exercise must conform to its physical characteristics (age, race, fitness ...). Excessive activity can also be detrimental to your health. It is not uncommon for him to lose his rhythm and, tired, end up getting lost due to his refusal to walk. This is where a GPS like Tractive has can save you from annoyance.
- It is recommended that we monitor the weight on a weekly basis. Only in this way will we know if our attempts are proving successful and detecting failures. To do this, we can buy a specific scale for dogs or use our own weight. Do not forget to note the possible progress.
- If you consider it convenient, consult the veterinarian as it can help you with guidelines and diagnose problems as a case of hypothyroidism that facilitates weight gain.
- Sometimes, we ignore that a third person in the house is providing additional food to the dog. So, if you have small children you would do well to ask them about this possibility.
- There are dogs that eat more for anxiety reasons. The same happens in humans. If this is the case, try to stop it as soon as possible.
Once our dog has returned to its ideal weight, we should not make the same mistakes again. Therefore, it is advisable not to let your guard down and persevere with these good habits of increased activity and adequate food. Your dog will overflow health!