Obesity in Dogs: The Pet Health Epidemic We Need to Reverse
When you're hit with the puppy dog eyes, it can be hard to resist giving your dog the extra table scraps on your plate. You may be thinking "what does it hurt?" or "they're just too cute!"
While the occasional treat is encouraged, excessive feeding outside of mealtimes can become a slippery slope - especially when human food is involved. Overfeeding from too many treats and lack of portion control are two of the top leading causes of obesity and could be putting them well over a healthy weight on a scale.
Just like you, your dog deserves to look and feel their best. That's why at Raw Bistro, we're committed to providing top quality foods, information, and resources, so you can feel confident your dog is at optimal health getting the nutrition they deserve.
What is Obesity?
Classified as a disorder involving excessive body fat, obesity is known to heavily increase the risk of health problems in both humans and animals.
Recently obesity has become an alarming issue in the canine world where obese is seen as the new normal. The sad truth is that most of us might not even realize that our dog is at an unhealthy weight due to common pedigree standards. Bulky or "chunky" bodies are often seen as the standard build for breeds such as Labrador Retrievers and Bulldogs due to their cuteness, while even many show dogs have been proven to be overweight.
While we love our pets at any weight, the concerning issue comes with the health risks that obesity brings - a dog who is overfed (especially on kibble or foods with high processed additives) and not getting the nutrition, exercise and water they need is at a higher risk for developing life-threatening diseases down the road.
Risks of Canine Obesity
We all want our dogs to live long, healthy lives. The more years we have with them by our side, the more cherished memories we have to look back on. The scary truth is that obesity can shorten their life span significantly.
Other health risks obesity can cause is increased risk for cancer, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, joint diseases, and more.
Top Leading Obesity Influences
There are a few significant factors that are commonly associated with obesity. A few of the top contenders contain:
- Diet composition
- Treat quantity
- Pet appetite
- Food motivation level
- Probiotic supplementation
How Can I Tell If My Dog is Overweight?
A good way to tell if your dog is overweight or at a healthy number is to follow the WSAVA body condition score chart. Depending on your dog's breed and size, their ideal weight may fluctuate in terms of numbers, but the overall shape and physical qualities should remain the same.
WSAVA's chart is easy to follow and does a great job outlining the different physical attributes of a dog's body within each stage on the scale. A 1 indicates your dog may be underweight and 9 being overweight - you'll want to opt for a weight that falls around a score of 5.
Finding a Healthy Weight
If you are worried that your dog may be overweight and are looking for a place to start, don't fret. We've got you covered.
Here are some of our top-rated tips and tricks to getting your dog's weight back on track.
- Switch to quality ingredients: keep in mind how many calories are in the treats you are feeding your dog, and how often you are giving them. A lot of times, we don't even realize how much "extra" food we end up feeding them on a day-to-day basis.
- Educate yourself on pet nutrition: the best way to stay on top of what your dog needs is to stay informed. Knowing how to read food labels and what to look for is a great starting place.
- Keep up and monitor your dog's eating behaviors/habits: Try portion control methods when it comes to mealtimes. Measuring out the food they get each morning and night can help avoid over-eating. Additionally, avoid free feeding. Your dog may love the idea of an open buffet, however the old saying "eyes too big for your stomach" still stands for your dog too!
All of our products at Raw Bistro are complete and balanced, and formulated as a true rotational diet - this means your dog is getting optimal nutrition in a variety of forms and flavors.
At Raw Bistro, we strive to make mealtimes more enjoyable, nutritious, and stress-free. If you want to talk to us directly about anything regarding your dog's raw food journey, schedule a raw dog food consult today