A Few Extra Pounds on a Dog can Change Their Life
Pet obesity is a major problem in the U.S. and other countries and it can lead to shortened life spans and lower quality of life for overweight pets. Many dog owners do not think about their pet’s excess weight in proportion to their pet’s overall body size, which is one reason why the pet obesity problem is so pervasive.
My Dog is Only a Few Lbs. Overweight…
To illustrate the concept of proportion, take an example of a small dog that should weigh 10 lbs. at its ideal weight. Assume that this dog actually weighs 13 lbs. Many pet parents might laugh this off and argue that “it’s only 3 lbs.”. And they are right, it is only 3 lbs., but that 3 lbs. could change their dog’s life, if not their lifespan. In this example, this poor dog would be classified as obese! They are 30% overweight (3 lbs. on a 10 lb. body). To put this into perspective, a human who should weigh 150 lbs. and who was 30% overweight would be carrying an extra 45 lbs. of fat and weigh-in at 195!
When it comes to dogs, a few lbs. can really make a difference and pet parents should be aware that in many instances a few lbs. is all that is needed to increase the health risks for their pet.
A Little Overfeeding = Fat Dog
The idea of proportion also applies to overfeeding. Pet parents who slightly overfeed their dogs each day, even by just a little, will end up with a fat pet. An illustration can shed some light on this.
The average dry pet food contains around 400 calories per cup. Thus, 1/8 of a cup of an average dry food will contain 50 calories. If a pet parent overfeeds by “only” 1/8 of cup each day, their pet would gain over 5 lbs. in a year. Yikes. Imagine how this pet would feel after 2 or 3 years of being overfed like this. They would likely be sluggish, have low energy, their joints would hurt, and their lifespan would likely be 10-20% shorter than if they were properly fed and at a more ideal weight.
The bottom line is that small amounts of excess weight, or small amounts of overfeeding, will both add up and cause health problems for a pet. Talk with your vet and determine an ideal weight for your pet, and the feed the correct amounts each and every day. Your pet will thank you for it.