We as dog owners do everything that we can to look after our canine’s needs and give them everything that they desire to live a long and happy life. But sometimes, we can overlook certain aspects of their well-being since the changes are so gradual that we don’t realize something is wrong until it’s too late. One perfect example is their weight. A dog’s weight can increase so gradually that we barely notice until our vet informs us that our beloved companion has developed canine obesity.
What are Some Key Things You Might Be Doing Wrong as a Dog Owner?
Sometimes, canine obesity can largely be encoded in their genetics, or result from some type of disease that causes them to gain weight despite eating right and getting plenty of exercises. But, in most cases, obesity in dogs is caused by something that the owner is overlooking, and so it is, in fact, preventable and reversible.
Reason #1: Overfeeding
Obviously, overfeeding is going to lead to obesity. But, a lot of dog owners with obese canines don’t even realize that they are feeding their dog too much. Overfeeding comes in different forms. It can mean that you’re too lenient with giving your dog your dinner scraps, it can mean that you’re overindulging them in treats, or that you’re simply giving them far too large of a portion at dinnertime. Your dog’s weight determines how many ounces of food they should consume each day, so look up this information and compare it to the feeding routine that you currently have them on.
Reason #2: Feeding the Wrong Kind of Food
We all know that eating too much can lead to obesity. But, sometimes, it’s not how much you’re feeding them, but what you’re feeding them. Dogs are quite easygoing when it comes to food, and many of us have a good who will practically eat anything. But, just because your dog is obsessed with cheese doesn’t mean that you should be giving them a generous portion of dairy each day on top of their regular dog food. And, you may be surprised by just how much commercial dog food can cause your dog to pack on the pounds, especially if it’s loaded with carbohydrates. More dog owners are opting for low-carb, grain-free diets, which won’t just manage your dog’s weight, but give them canine-appropriate ingredients rather than a bunch of fillers that are difficult for their digestive systems to process.
#3: Failing to Give Your Dog Enough Exercise
In the most general sense, a dog needs about 30-60 minutes of exercise a day, with senior dogs likely requiring a bit less than that. A dog’s need for exercise goes beyond maintaining healthy body weight. Dogs are naturally active creatures, and if they’re not being stimulated in this way, they can develop emotional disorders and start behaving aggressively. So, make a point to take your dog for walks and let them run around freely in your backyard or in a dog park. Give them toys that they can chase and hunt to feed into their predatorial instincts while giving them another excuse to remain active. And, consider switching up their exercise routine from time to time so that they’re always engaged. For example, if your dog is used to going for walks, take them on a run, or play a particularly high-energy game of fetch.
Reason #4: Not Looking for an Underlying Cause
If your dog has been gaining an unusual amount of weight, you’ll want to get them to the vet. Sometimes, there’s an underlying cause that has nothing to do with diet or exercise. For instance, your dog may have a thyroid disorder that makes it difficult for them to burn fat. Or, they may actually have arthritis, which makes excessive movement painful and causes them to become lethargic.
At the end of the day, obesity in dogs is not normal, and it can lead to serious complications if it’s left untreated. So, a veterinarian is needed to not only diagnose the issue but make suggestions that can help get your dog back to a healthy weight based on the actual cause.
Reason #5: Not Developing Good Habits Early On
We know that dogs are quite malleable in the sense that we can alter their behavior by simple training methods. What this means is that the habits we create for them early on in life tend to stick, and they can be hard to break early on. For instance, training your dog to expect more frequent feedings throughout the day than what’s healthy can lead to a mental dependency on eating far more calories than are healthy for them. So, create a healthy lifestyle for your dog as soon as you bring them home for the first time, as these habits will stick with them for the rest of their life.
Reason #6: Not Maintaining a Calm Environment
Dogs that are dealing with emotional distress may show a loss of appetite, but it’s more common than you think for them to display the opposite behavior as well. Dogs, like humans, may self-soothe by eating more than what’s good for them, and this can become a habit that quickly gets out of hand. If a dog associates indulging in food as a means to regulate their emotions, they can become obese at a rapid pace.
This means that it’s critical to keep your dog’s emotional well-being in check. Maintain a calm environment in your home, and address anything that may be causing them stress.
Why CBD Can Help
Cannabidiol is frequently recommended to dogs who can use a little help in one way or another. It’s natural, gentle, and proven to be useful to canines, through years of studies that have shown us that the cannabinoid attaches to cannabinoid receptors throughout your dog’s body to regulate different responses and processes. CBD can be great for balancing your dog’s emotional state, and may even play a role in managing arthritis which can interfere with their ability to exercise.
At Chill Paws, we offer CBD dog treats and CBD oils formulated specifically for canines, with dosages that take into account your dog’s body weight, and ingredients known to be safe for your precious companion. These products are easy to administer and can be given daily to manage your dog’s body and mind.
The Bottom Line: Canine Obesity is Largely Preventable
Knowing that your dog is obese can be extremely distressing because we know that obesity can contribute to all kinds of health problems later on in life. The good news is that in almost all cases, canine obesity is both preventable and reversible. By simply changing certain aspects of their daily routine, you can likely get your dog back to a healthier weight with a little bit of dedication and effort.