Health Risks of an Overweight Dog
Continuing with our pet obesity awareness theme, I wanted to share some of the primary health risks that dogs might develop as a result of being overweight.
Much like with humans, carrying excess weight in the form of fat is not healthy for dogs and can impact their quality of life. Simply stated, an overweight pet is more susceptible to disease and orthopedic disorders than a lean, properly fed and exercised pet. For those who think that a fat dog is cute, think again. The list of serious (and costly) diseases associated with pet obesity is scary.
Some of the diseases linked to a pet being overweight include:
- Heart and Respiratory Disease
- High Blood Pressure (hypertension)
- Many Forms of Cancer
- Insulin Resistance and Type 2 Diabetes
- Cranial Cruciate Ligament Injury (ACL)
- Kidney Disease
Each of these diseases will reduce the dog’s quality of life and might reduce their life span as well. They might experience chronic pain, will feel sick, will be unable to move around and play as they would like, and will likely be forced to ingest copious amounts of medications. And you can bet that it will reduce the pet parent’s life quality as well.
If this list isn’t scary enough, fat dogs will live shorter lives than pets who are at their proper weight. In a landmark study on Labrador Retrievers, lean dogs lived about 2 years longer lives than did their overweight littermates. Putting this into perspective, it is the equivalent of a human living an extra 10-15 years.
Pet owners can reduce the risk of their pet developing these and other ailments by feeding the proper amount of species appropriate foods—full of meat and fish based protein sources and devoid of cheap fillers– and providing ample amounts of exercise and activity. Eliminating the pet obesity problem is as simple as that.