Is your dog in danger of canine obesity health issues?
Is the Coton de Tulear prone to dog Obesity?
One of the traits the Coton de Tulear is known for is their penchant
to beg for food. And how can we resist that cute little ball of cotton
when they're dancing on their hind legs looking so cute staring at your
lunch? Does this sound familiar?
I have been guilty of this myself. Now I keep a bag of veggies nearby so when my dog Luc is giving me that look I can feel good about giving him a healthy treat. It really is in their best interest not to give in to their pleading eyes.
How do you know if your dog is overweight and why is it important to know:
It's important to determine if your dog is overweight because just
like us humans, canine obesity can lead to all kinds of health issues
such as osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, and heart
disease. Making sure your dog is the proper weight for his size can
add years to his life. Signs that your dog needs to downsize include:
- You can’t feel his ribs
- His stomach is saggy and you can grab fistfuls of fat
- He has to exert himself to do a normal amount of exercise (walking up stairs, going for a walk, etc).
What causes dog obesity?
Some of the more common causes of dog obesity include:
- Living a sedentary lifestyle with very limited exercise
- Bad habits of owners who feed table scraps, high
fat processed dog treats, and provide unlimited access to food for their
dogs. Many dogs will literally eat until they get sick, so it's up to
us to provide the proper amount of food.
- Health conditions such as arthritis or hip
dysplasia limits the amount of exercise a dog can have which affects
their weight as a result.
- Metabolic disorders such as hypothyroidism.
- Getting older. Senior dog care should focus on proper nutrition and exercise.
What's the best way to treat or prevent dog obesity?
Well, just as with humans, there's no magic bullet for losing weight. We ALL have to do it the same way:
- Increase exercise - this can be as simple as adding an
additional walk or two throughout the day or tossing a frisbee around
for a while. The good thing is that most dogs don't have an aversion to
exercise the way many of us humans do. They love any opportunity to
play with us.
- If you use food as training rewards, make sure
the food is healthy and keep the portion size very small. Carrots and
apple slices work really well.
- Do not give in to those pleading guilt-provoking
doggy looks when they're begging for food. Just remember that saying no
can add years and a better quality of life to your dog. Giving high
calorie treats defeats the purpose of putting your dog on a low calorie
- Make sure everyone in the family complies with your dog's diet plan. Are your spouse and kids sneaking treats to your dog?
- Provide high quality foods that are lower in fat
content, higher in fiber, have reduced calories, but supply all the
protein, vitamins and minerals necessary for good health.
- Some times a change in food is not necessary;
just a reduction in the amount of your dog's usual food may be enough to
reduce weight. It's kind of like humans; one cookie won't hurt us but
if you eat the whole bag you can expect to see it reflected on the
scale. Be careful you don't reduce too much or you might not be giving
your dog sufficient nutrients.
It's always best to work with your Veterinarian to come up with the right weigh reduction plan for your dog.
How many calories does your dog need
This depends on the type of breed, the age, size, and activity
level of the dog. Here's a useful calorie counter to help you determine
what's best for your dog.
Of course, you can use this tool for any dog, not just the Coton de Tulear.
According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention an estimated 89 million US dogs and cats are overweight or obese. Don’t let your dog become part of these statistics. Work with your Vet to ensure you have the perfect plan to give your dog the highest quality longest life possible.
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