Excess weight corresponds to an excess weight gain often caused by food consumption that exceeds or is not suited to the animal’s requirements. If this trend develops, it may lead to obesity which is a disease. A specific diet will effectively contribute to restoring the dog’s fitness weight.
In most cases, the main origin of excess weight lies in a food consumption that exceeds what is needed by the dog, in association with a lack of exercise, especially in an urban environment. Certain breeds are genetically predisposed, for instance Cockers, Labrador Retrievers, Collies. Excess weight may originate in the food received by the animal during his growth. An overfed small-sized breed puppy will have produced too many adipose cells which, like small balloons, will only have to fill up with fat at adulthood. Moreover, indulging a dog’s greediness by handing out sweets and cakes is a non-negligible risk factor as far as excess weight is concerned.
In that case, he is said to be bulimic, a situation which may be linked to a fear of lacking food in the case of competition for food among several dogs, to neurohormonal imbalance, to boredom, to a food intake with an insufficient energy concentration or to a digestive assimilation problem. The animal’s weight variations and a precise observation of his behavior will enable at first the dog’s owner to help the veterinarian direct his diagnosis towards one or the other of these hypotheses.
Reducing the quantity of food eaten daily by the dog may pose a problem, as the dog accepts with difficulty experiencing such a limitation of his food volume. If you try to make a dog lose weight by rationing his usual food, you are running the risk of causing nutrient deficiencies in your dog. The objective of a Health Nutrition food suited to this situation of excess weight will therefore consist in maintaining the volume of the alimentary bolus while concentrating it with essential nutrients and reducing the calorie intake. Thanks to an enhanced palatability for this food to be accepted by the animal and a specific kibble density enabling to alleviate the sense of hunger between meals, a light Health Nutrition food stands as an effective support for low-activity or sterilized dogs with a tendency to get overweight.
It is to be desired that providing a dog that tends to get overweight with a light food will be accompanied by a change in his habits. A prolonged walk period will give him opportunities to expend his energy. Play that offers an interaction between the owner and his animal is much appreciated by the latter. The handing out of treats should be avoided unless their energy content is taken into account in the calculation of the daily intake.
One or two little kilos too many which are not apparently detrimental to the animal may in fact lead very quickly to obesity, which is a disease of its own. It should be taken all the more seriously as it is the cause of serious articular affections (arthrosis, ligament rupture...) and of cardiorespiratory failures among other things. It reduces reproduction capacities and generates significant skin problems. Overall, obesity reduces the dog’s life expectancy.
Once the diagnosis has been established by the veterinarian and he has determined the level to which the dog is affected, the success of the dietary weight loss treatment is essentially conditioned by the owner’s awareness and determination to make his dog follow the prescribed diet. It may take several months of diet for a dog to lose weight. Therefore, one should better prevent than cure!