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People aren't the only ones struggling with obesity in America. Between 20 and 40 percent of all dogs seen by veterinarians in the United States are considered overweight (5 to 10 percent over ideal weight), and many of those are categorized as obese (20 percent or more over ideal weight). Even without a scale, you can have some idea of your dog's weight status. For most breeds, whether viewed from above or the side, the body should have an hourglass figure with a definite waist. There should be no rolls of heavy skin or fat above the shoulder area or at the tail base.
Canine obesity can prevent your dog from enjoying many physical activities. Obesity decreases speed and stamina, and makes it more difficult for your dog to deal with heat. It's also associated with the following medical conditions:
Certain medical conditions can bring on weight gain or the appearance of being fat, so before launching into a diet, you should schedule a trip to the veterinarian for a physical exam. Your vet may recommend diagnostic tests to look for medicalproblems, such as hypothyroidism or Cushing's syndrome, among others. But, most cases of fat dogs are simply the product of eating more calories than they expend. These dogs need a weight-reduction program aimed at decreasing caloric intake and increasing exercise. A healthy one should aim to reduce weight by about 1 to 2 percent of the body weight each week. Ready to begin? Here's how:
Your dog can lose weight. You have control over his eating and exercise. He can't be blamed for his lack of self-control, because you're the one in complete control. He'll thank you for it as he enjoys a happier and healthier life because of your tough love.More on Vetstreet.com:
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