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Obesity in dogs: Nothing to wag about

Posted on: March 29th, 2011 by

A dog with pet health insurance is ready to go for a walk.

Dog lovers can agree—one of the best things about sharing our home with a pooch is spoiling them rotten from time to time.

We love our dogs, and we love making them happy with comfy resting spots, the best pet insurance, lots of love, and of course, treats that make their eyes light up. But we can also go overboard in the treats department, which can create an overweight dog– and be detrimental to pet health overall.

According to the school of Veterinary Medicine at UC Davis, “Obesity is the most common nutritional problem in companion animals.” Risks associated with overweight dogs include:

• Heart disease
• Diabetes
• Orthopedic disease (arthritis)
• Liver disease
• Increased risks in surgery

So while it may be fun to spoil dogs when they’re young and healthy, that feeling can turn to regret as they age and we realize we didn’t provide them with the best pet health care. No amount of dog insurance or even older dog insurance can reverse years of bad habits, or take away the pain a senior dog may develop because of it.

Take stock in what is being done for your dog’s health and eating habits:

1. Reconsider the brand and type of food; is it still a good fit for your dog’s age and activity level?

2. Re-read and re-calculate the feed guide on their food packaging to make sure you aren’t over-feeding.

3. Add some exercise to your dog’s routine. If you only walk him on weekends, start walking him at least every other day. If you already walk your dog daily, add five minutes to each walk.

4. Cut out treats altogether, or switch to healthier treats. Carrots make a healthy, crunchy way to say “good boy.”

5. Finally, set a household rule that no one is to feed the dog table scraps.

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