Life Stage Nutrition: Obesity in Dogs

Life Stage Nutrition: Obesity in Dogs

Bella

Unfortunately, due to the vast selection of foods available to pets, the number of dogs becoming obese is rising these days, just as it is with humans. Obesity is the most common cause of malnutrition in pets. There are two simple equations involved:

If the energy intake is greater than the energy utilised, the animal will gain weight. Over feeding = overweight = decreased health status, decreased quality of life, and decreased life expectancy.

Health risks associated with overweight conditions in dogs can include hyperinsulinaemia, glucose intolerance, diabetes mellitus, pulmonary and cardiovascular disease, exercise and heat intolerance and orthopaedic problems.

Inadequate exercise, increasing age, and genetic/breed pre-disposition can all be contributory factors for obesity. Neutering increases the risk of overweight conditions via several mechanisms.

The age that the dog is neutered often corresponds with a natural decrease in the dog's growth rate and energy needs, which may lead to weight gain.

Neutered animals also tend to consume more food and to have a reduced basal metabolic rate, both of which can contribute to an energy surplus if food intake is not controlled.

There are, of course, sometimes other underlying factors as to why an animal becomes obese, such as hypothyroidism and hyperadrenocorticism (Cushing's Syndrome) but almost always, obesity is caused by the equations above.

An ideal diet, then, is one that contains a balance of nutrients to aid weight loss, it will have less fat than normal adult maintenance foods (but still above the dog's basic requirement for fat), and a high-quality, highly digestible source of protein to keep lean muscle mass and reduce body fat.Dog Sizeometer This type of food also has a higher fibre level to provide appetite satiety, plus all the vitamins and minerals needed to keep the metabolism normal, even in the dieting animal.

How OSCAR can Help...

Feeding your dog a complete diet, which is correct for its life-stage is important to ensure the correct nutritional balance for its age. If your dog is overweight, it is better to change to a 'lite' diet such as Oscar Pinnacle Plus, Oscar Pinnacle of Life and High Fibre Lite.

These diets have reduced calorie, protein and fat content to help with weight loss.

Weight gain can be avoided by carefully weighing out your dog's meal every day. OSCAR provide a bespoke measuring scoop with your dog's food to do this with. You may find that you need to cut down the amount of food your dog eats each day. Following the reduced feeding rate on the bag will help you to do this whilst still maintaining a healthy diet. Be careful not to reduce your dog's daily feed rate too much or too quickly.

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