How to Prevent Obesity in Dogs
The prevention of obesity in dogs starts with gaining better control of what an animal eats and how much it exercises. Learn about what constitutes a healthy weight for a dog with help from a veterinarian in this free video on dog health and obesity.
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Hi I am Dr. Greg McDonald, I am a veterinarian in Southern California, my hospital is in Santa Barbara. I want to talk a little bit about animal care today, and especially obese dogs. One of the very, very common things that I see in practice, and I spend an awful lot of time counseling owners on trying to get their animals to lose weight. It is very, very difficult to try and explain to owners when sometimes even they are overweight that their animal should be going on a diet. I like to tell people that if I had a better owner myself I would be thinner. So we really do have control over what the animal eats. We can't change the animal's metabolism, but we can change how much they eat, and how much exercise they get. That is really the only three things that control weight in dogs, and we have some charts that I am going to show you in a minute about where your dog should be. This is a chart that shows a grossly overweight animal down here, and a grossly under weight animal up here. And so where we want you to really have your dog is right here where you can actually see the ribs a little bit, and when you look down above they have what I call a girlish figure. Often times you will find if you have your dog at the exact proper weight your neighbors, and some of your other friends may say what is wrong with your dog he's so thin. But the truth of the matter is that animals that are under weight or thin live a lot longer the same is true with people. People that are thin live much, much longer than people that are obese. So as far as getting them to lose weight first of all you can cut back the amount of food that they get. My recommendation is you weigh them every week. Often times a veterinarian can help you with their scale to weigh your pet. Weigh them once a week, and measure the food that they are getting. If the weight is going up you need to increase the exercise, and decrease the amount of food that they are getting. So measure the food. I think it is also helpful if you feed them twice a day so that your animal is not acting as hungry, and so if you get fed morning and night then at least they are feeling a little more satisfied than if they had to wait a whole twenty-four hours. Your veterinarian could also help you picking a diet that is lower in calories, and I think that is a good way to go especially on those dogs that are grossly overweight. Some of the diets that are very specific for weight loss are high in fiber, and again I have had kind of a funny reaction sometimes to the owners I send home with one of these specialty diets, and they call back almost the same day, and say my dog doesn't like that diet what am I supposed to do. Well you know if I ate everything that I liked all day long I would be overweight too. So the fact that they don't like it at first is a good thing. That means you don't have to control all of the problems as far as weight is concerned, and their anxiousness to get food if you just put down something that maybe they don't like the taste of it that much. But they can even go for a whole seven days as long as they have plenty of water present without eating, and still be very healthy. So you can kind of force the issue with dogs, and say listen this is your new food, this is what you have to eat, and once they start eating that they will lose weight. So it is very important first of all to recognize if your animal is obese, and then secondly to try and control the weight with restricting the amount of food that they get, and increasing the amount of exercise that they get.