In 2008, 37% of Canadian adults were measured as overweight and 25% were considered obese (Employment & Social Development Canada). This is an increase from 2005. This same trend is being seen in Canadian Canines. Excess weight is the number one medical condition in companion animals and has a number of health and wellness implications for both pets and their owners. Obesity is the most important medical problem in dogs. According to APOP the prevalence of overweight or obese American dogs range from 22-40% and 1/3 of dogs seen by US Veterinarians are overweight. Canine Obesity is becoming an epidemic!
What are the Consequences of Dog Obesity?
- Decreased Life Span
Obesity is the 4th leading cause for canine deaths. Studies have shown that dogs who were fed appropriately and given proper exercise, lived 2 years longer.
- Canine Diabetes
Canine Diabetes is a serious disease that affects your dogs ability to metabolize sugar. Higher levels of sugar in the bloodstream can feed even the most minor bacterial infection, turning them chronic and life threatening. Studies show that maintaining a healthy weight lessens the effects of diabetes in dogs.
- Heart Disease
Dogs who are overweight are more likely to have high levels of cholesterol. Fat cells clog arteries and valves in dogs. This causes the vessels to narrow and the heart then has to work harder to pump the blood to the body, putting extra-unneeded strain on the heart. Left untreated, heart failure becomes eminent.
An overweight dog carries excess weight on their joints and puts them at risk for injuries such as an ACL tear. Treatment for an ACL tear can be hard on your dog. This excess weight can also put them at risk for osteoarthritis and hip dysplasia as well.
- Cardiopulmonary Disease
Excess weight in some dogs can increase the risk for the development of a tracheal collapse in small breed dogs. Other lung problems that can occur is Asthma.
- Bladder Disorders
Excess weight can cause urinary incontinence (urine leaking) in dogs, which can be mistaken as the dog purposely urinating.
Sometimes when dogs are overweight or obese they tend to physically interact less with owners, which can result in overlooking when some dogs have medical conditions.
Cancer rates drastically go up with obese dogs.