The modern dog has access to the best nutrition and health services in history. But he relies on his human to provide them for him because let's face it - if given a choice between a dumpster behind a KFC and a premium dog food, he's probably going with the dumpster.

But, despite our many options in healthy dog food today and the increase in options in the pet health industry, obesity is a major problem in dogs.

How to Determine If Your Dog Is Overweight Or Obese

The old stand-by for quickly determining your dog's weight is to see if you can feel your dog's ribs. If so, then he's fit. If not, it's time to break out the carrots for treats. For a more complete visual check, look for these factors in an obese dog - no waist, a rounded stomach, thick fat covering the ribs which is soft and movable, and prominent folds of skin which sway when he walks. You can also follow the guidelines below:

Approximate Ideal Weight By Some Breed Examples:

  • Havanese, Border Terrier - 11 lbs.
  • Beagle, Staffordshire Bull Terrier - 30 lbs.
  • Collie, Samoyed - 55 lbs.
  • American Staffordshire Terrier, Boxer - 66 lbs.
  • Irish Wolfhound, Anatolian Shepherd - 88 lbs.
  • Neopolitan Mastiff, Newfoundland - 122 lbs.

Causes of Obesity

Obesity is the response of the body to too much energy saved as fat. Obesity in dogs is affected by the correlation between genetic factors, exercise, food management and stress. What does this mean? Well, to break it down, obesity is affected by:

Food: Leaving a bowl of food out for your dog all the time is a sure way to obesity. So is giving him a caloric treat whenever he asks for it.

Activity Level: Our society has moved away from plowing fields to plowing through potato chips while sitting on the sofa. If we do exercise, it is often at a gym. And too often the daily mile dog walk turns into a quick run around the block just so Fido can do his business.

Illness: Certain conditions exacerbate canine obesity such as hypothyrodism, Cushings Disease, Pancreatic Cancer, and pituitary problems.

Reproductive: Feeding a neutered or spayed dog an average amount can cause obesity. They need about 1/4 less than average.

Breed: Some breeds are more likely to become overweight or obese. These include Labrador Retrievers, Beagles, Cocker Spaniels and Basset Hounds.

Health Risks In Overweight Or Obese Dogs

Obese dogs are more at risk for complications in surgery and for injury. Their lungs, liver, heart, kidneys, and joints are also more stressed. Obesity in pets can also cause stroke, respiratory problems in the heat and during exercise, lead to diabetes, and in general shorten and lessen the quality of a dog's life.

How To Achieve Pet Weight Loss

You can conquer canine obesity using some of the information below. However, before any changes in diet or lifestyle, you should consult with your veterinarian.

Food: Feed your dog two to three times a day. Ask your vet for advice on amount but, in general, a...