Obesity is a serious problem in this country for both pets and their parents. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), roughly 54 percent of dogs are overweight, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 68 percent of adult Americans are overweight. Not good.
Just like an overweight human, fat dogs can suffer from a multitude of health problems including diabetes, joint problems, heart and liver disease and decreased immune function – all of which is avoidable.
Sure, we all love to give our dogs a few extra treats, or even a “special meal” every now and then, but we also need to make sure our four-legged friends are getting enough exercise to counter those extra calories and fat to prevent disease as a result of overfeeding.
The following is a list of just some of the health issues your dog could encounter if he is overweight.
Diabetes Mellitus aka Sugar Diabetes
Diabetes is one of the most common health complications in an overweight dog. Peteducation.com states, “When requirements for insulin exceed the ability of the body to produce insulin, diabetes mellitus develops. If the need for insulin increases over a long period of time, the cells in the pancreas, which produce insulin can actually ‘burn out,’ again, resulting in diabetes.”
Simply put, insulin is in higher demand because there is a larger amount of tissue in a corpulent dog.
High Blood Pressure aka Hypertension
Overweight dogs could develop hypertension, which is basically elevated blood pressure. Petplace.com says, “Blood pressure has two values: the systolic pressure, which is the high value that develops as the heart contracts and pumps blood, and the diastolic pressure, the low value that occurs as the heart relaxes and fills. For example, 120/80 means a systolic pressure = 120 mm Hg and diastolic pressure = 80 mm Hg. A systolic ABP consistently exceeding greater than 170 to 180 mm Hg in a dog is considered high. Diastolic pressure in dogs should not exceed the 100 to 110 mm Hg range, provided it is recorded when the dog is relaxed.”
An overweight dog’s heart has to work extra hard to pump blood to the fat tissues, causing the heart to stop working properly.
According to PetWellbeing.com, “The heart is a muscular organ consisting of four chambers, two of which are located on the left side of the heart, and two on the right side. Each side of the heart also has a set of valves. When heart disease is present, certain parts of the heart cease to function properly. The rest of the organ then tries to compensate for this improper function.”
Bottom line – heart disease can lead to heart failure, which can result in death.
Damage to Joints, Bones and Ligaments
One word: arthritis. The extra weight your dog is carrying around is doing some serious damage to his bones, joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments, which could result in arthritis.
Vetinfo.com states, “Arthritis is not a treatable condition, but may be managed with anti-inflammatory and pain medication. Weight loss is compulsory to reduce the stress on the joints, tendons and ligaments.”
Other diseases and health complications your overweight dog is prone to are:
Decreased liver function
Increased surgical and anesthetic risk
Decreased immune function
Skin, hair and coat problems
Decreased quality and length of life