Übergewichtiger Hund liegt auf dem Boden

Obesity in dogs

According to experts at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU), almost every second dog in Germany suffers from obesity. This often develops gradually, so dog owners often react late. Obesity in dogs is a serious problem that can have a significant impact on the dog's life.

Since obesity in dogs is often associated with other health problems, a veterinarian should be consulted before starting a diet. He will examine the dog thoroughly and discuss the next steps with the owner.

Obesity can have many causes - for example, neutered dogs have lower energy consumption due to hormonal changes and can therefore gain weight more quickly. In general, a lack of exercise or incorrect feeding (such as too much food) contribute to obesity.

When is my dog ​​too fat?

Your veterinarian can tell you your dog's ideal weight based on breed, age, gender, etc. If he is 10% to 15% above his ideal weight, he is classified as overweight. But even a simple check at home can give you an idea whether your dog has too much on his plate.

  1. Does your dog have a visible waist?
    Look at your dog from above or from the side: is his waist clearly visible? If you stroke its flanks with both hands, the body behind the chest should become narrower again.
  2. Are your dog's ribs palpable?
    Your dog's ribs should be palpable even with light pressure. A small layer of fat in this area is completely normal, but the ribs should be able to be felt with your fingers without strong pressure.
  3. Does your dog have fat deposits on his back and at the base of his tail?
    Run your hand lightly over your dog's spine. If you find it difficult to feel the individual vertebrae, this may mean that fat deposits have already accumulated there.

What are the consequences of being overweight in dogs?

In addition to the obvious consequence of restricting your dog's movements, there are other reasons to put your dog on a diet. The premature wear and tear of joints (arthrosis) is one of them, but a whole range of other problems can also occur:

  • Diabetes mellitus
  • constipation (constipation)
  • Cardiovascular/respiratory diseases

A change in behavior often occurs as a result of being overweight. This manifests itself in increased lethargy and reluctance to move. This means they get out of breath more quickly and need to take breaks more often when going for a walk.

Age-related reduced energy requirements and the associated limited ability to exercise (due to osteoarthritis) must also be taken into account in the feed ration in order to avoid obesity.

Excess weight in puppies also quickly affects their joints: too much food causes them to grow too quickly and does not give the joints enough time to develop and solidify in peace.

How does the dog get rid of its excess weight?

The rule of thumb applies to dogs and humans alike: in order to lose weight, you have to burn more calories than you consume. Therefore, the food should be as high quality as possible (with a high meat content) and low in calories. Unnecessary filling products such as grains or sugar should be avoided entirely .
When it comes to losing weight, it all depends on the owner - the whole diet depends on you!

  • With the help of your veterinarian, create a diet plan that lists intermediate goals - these can be important in reminding yourself again and again why you shouldn't give in to the pleading puppy dog ​​look.
  • Weigh your dog regularly to monitor weight progression.
  • A lot of exercise is fun for your dog, distracts him from eating and contributes significantly to weight loss. Play and walk as much as you and your dog can and enjoy.

By the way: If you feed snacks , they should be deducted from the daily food ration. Dry food is feed concentrate from which a large part of the liquid has been removed. It is more energy-rich than wet food and should therefore be dosed very precisely.