By Bill Barboni, DVM and Chris Pitts, RVT,
Marin Pet Hospital, San Rafael, CA
Canine obesity presents many of the same health concerns as it does to people. When not kept in check, obesity can trigger respiratory illness, joint issues and diabetes. There are many ways to keep your four-legged friend's waist trim, and most of them are good for people too.
An increase of just five percent in your dog's weight can cause a twenty percent increase in the pressure and inflammation in his joints. This is what is known as arthritis. Arthritis is painful. Dogs with arthritis tend to have a stiffer, shortened gait. In more severe cases a dog may pace or struggle to find a comfortable position to sleep in. Less weight on your dog's frame equates to less stress and strain on his joints. Keeping your dog fit and trim can delay the need for anti-inflammatories and pain medications. The less your dog needs medications the easier life will be on his liver and kidneys. The need for fewer medications also makes life easier on the wallet.
Just as is the case with people, the fatter the dog, the more difficult it is for him to breathe, making it even harder for him to exercise. More…