5 Benefits of Doggie Weight Loss

Is your dog packing on some extra pounds?

You might want to reconsider his dietary habits. Overweight pets are more likely to experience medical conditions and other physical problems. “Obesity is probably the single most common condition we see in pets,” says Dr. Rory Lubold, veterinarian and founder of Paion Vet Clinic. “It’s a very serious condition that can drastically alter the length and quality of life.”

While everybody knows losing weight is good for heavy dogs, here are some additional reasons you might want to consider having your dog shed some pounds.

Lower Risk of Unexpected Health Issues

The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention estimates that more than 45% of dogs are overweight or obese, and those extra pounds bring a lot of trouble. Dr. Lubold reports that overweight pets are at a higher risk of suffering from a number of medical conditions, including diabetes mellitus, orthopedic disease, and respiratory disease. In addition, overweight dogs can experience liver disease or dysfunction, breathing difficulties, and an increased surgical risk. Helping your dog lose excess weight decreases their susceptibility to these problems.

Lower Risk of Developing Cancer

According to Dr. Lubold, obesity and overeating actually trigger certain genetic attributes that can make cancer more likely. “We know that obesity is a factor in many types of cancer formation in people and some types of cancer in dogs (mammary cancer specifically),” says Dr. Lubold. “We suspect that there is a correlation with obesity and many more types of cancer.”

Less Pain and Discomfort

Every pound of additional weight puts added stress on joints—so losing weight makes a lot of sense to help your pooch feel better. “For dogs with arthritis or any joint pain, this can mean the difference between manageable pain, and the inability to get up,” Dr. Lubold explains. “We see too many dogs put down because of arthritis that can be managed, but only if they are at a healthy weight.”

A Happier, More Playful Pup

Pets enjoy being able to greet us at the door, chase a ball, play with toys and go for walks. Helping your dog maintain a healthy weight makes these activities more enjoyable for them and improves their quality of life. “If they are reluctant to get up or are exhausted by short walks, their well-being is adversely affected,” says Dr. Lubold. Excess weight can make pets feel sluggish and lethargic. Lubold adds, “If they’re uncomfortable because of arthritis and excess weight, it can also cause them to be more tentative about playing with other dogs and even lead to aggression, for fear of being hurt.”

A Longer Life

Weight loss can add years to a dog’s life and encourage more activity and better quality of life. Dr. Lubold reminds us, “Dogs that are more active, take pleasure in walks, and have enrichment activities such as fetch or playing at the dog park will have more energy and enjoyment in life.” In fact, Lubold points out that one of the most common causes of death in obese dogs is premature euthanasia, because they are unable to get up, and walking is too painful. Helping your dog stay lean means you’ll have more years to love him.

Meet the Author: Diana Bocco

Diana Bocco is a full-time writer and avid adventurer. She's gone hiking in Siberia, snorkeling in Thailand, and canoeing in the Mekong River. She also loves caves and has been known to get lost in one or five around the world. Diana's work has been published in the Discovery Channel website, Yahoo!, Popular Mechanics, and more. You can read more of her work on her website at www.dianabocco.com

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