Weight Gain in Dogs
Dogs, like humans, tend to gain weight as they age. They can also put on weight through lack of exercise or overeating. However, if your dog experiences a sudden weight gain, it could be a sign of something more serious.
How can I tell if I have an overweight dog?
Overweight dogs are not always easy to spot. The following are good ways to determine if your dog is overweight:
- Put your dog in a standing position and run your hand along its side. You should be able to feel the ribs easily through skin without applying pressure.
- Look down at your dog while it is in a standing position. You should be able to see where the ribs end and the waist begins.
- Feel for the bone at the base of the tail. You should be able to do so without difficult.
Causes of Rapid Dog Weight Gain
Rapid dog weight gain can be a sign of another underlying condition. The most common are:
- Hypothyroidism – A suddenly overweight dog can be suffering from an imbalance in thyroid, the hormone that regulates metabolism.
- Cushing’s Disease – Overproduction of certain steroids responsible for normal body functions can result in rapid weight gain. This is most commonly found in middle-aged and older dogs.
- Medications – Some drugs can cause overeating or slowing of the metabolism.
Other Serious Conditions that Look like Dog Weight Gain
Some health problems cause symptoms that look like dog weight gain. Be on the lookout for the following in what appears to be an overweight dog.
- Bloat – A swollen belly can result from your dog gulping air while eating. If untreated, bloat can lead to digestive problems.
- “Beer Belly” – A paunch or potbelly on a human can be the result of rapid weight gain. In a dog, it could be the sign of a serious internal illness such as liver or heart disease.
Treatment for Dog Weight Gain
Overweight dogs can put undue stress and strain on both their joints and internal organs. They are also more prone to injury, and are at a higher risk during surgery. Treat normal dog weight gain as you would weight gain with yourself.
- Cut calories – Reduce the size of your dog’s meals or invest in a good low-calorie dog food. National Pet Pharmacy has a complete selection of reduced calorie dog foods and weight-control formula dog foods, like over-the-counter, reduced calorie foods and veterinary formula, reducing diets.
- Include exercise – Gradually increase your dog’s activity level until it is getting 40 to 80 minutes of vigorous exercise per day. This can include jogging, walking or playing fetch.
About National Pet Pharmacy
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