What is Obesity?
As far as your vet is concerned, your dog is obese (very overweight) if he weighs about 15% more than he should. In the mind of his doting owner, he’s pudgy, chubby, stout, heavy, or (brace yourself) just plain fat! And that’s not good for him, his heart, his kidneys, joints, lungs, or his liver.
How Can You Tell Whether Your Dog is Obese?
Well, love is blind, so maybe you can’t tell, but if your neighbors are pointing and laughing at your dog’s belly dragging on the lawn, take that as a clue. Seriously, though, if you can retain your objectivity, you can almost always identify the absence of a waistline, waddling, and sluggishness. The true test is to close your eyes and run your hands along your dog’s sides. If her ribs feel less like a piano keyboard and more like a fluffy cushion, then it’s time to stop buying imitation bacon strips.
What Can You Do?
Instead of depriving her of food, the idea is to adjust the balance of nutrients. That sounds difficult, but balanced diets for weight reduction are readily available.
Your general strategy will be to feed Princess fewer calories and more fiber, with some high-quality protein.
Good food for obese dogs will not only provide the right number of calories to achieve weight reduction but also balance the remaining nutrients to ensure good health.
And it might not be a bad idea to take Belle and King for a walk every chance you can. Just increase their exercise level gradually. Scientists have seen a high correlation between sedentary/obese dogs and their sedentary/obese owners. This means there’s a good chance you need the extra exercise anyway.
But I Didn’t Overfeed Her and Never Give Her Table Scraps . . .
If you’ve been very careful about your dog’s diet and he’s still obese, you should check with your vet. Some breeds are prone to obesity (Labs, Cairn Terriers, Cocker Spaniels, and Dachshunds, more than others). Obesity can also be a symptom of a medical condition such as diabetes or hypothyroidism.