My Dog Has Been Gaining Weight
There are plenty of overweight dogs in the world. Many of their owners are either unaware or don't let it bother them in the least. Those of you who do worry about your dog's weight will probably become quite alarmed if you notice your dog experience a sudden, unexplained weight gain. Even if the weight gain is not so sudden, if it's noticeable, it should be investigated.
What to Look For
An examination of your dog, under the premise of establishing a reason for the recent weight gain, should also include self scrutiny. Try to analyze whether your dog's feeding schedule or amount has contributed to the weight gain. Look closely at her behavior for clues. Ask all the members of your household what they have been contributing to your dog's diet. Leave no aspect of caloric intake out. Go as far as actually quantifying the number of calories your dog takes in each day of the week and balance it against the amount of exercise she gets. Don't put this aspect of weight gain to rest until you have firmly established that an imbalance does not exist.
Your next step should be a simple comparison of your dog's actual weight to the recommended breed standard for a dog of her stature. Check the American Kennel Club's The Complete Dog Book. If your dog is free of enormous weighty growths or tumors, and her weight is greater than five pounds above the breed standard, you've got some work ahead. If she is more than fifteen pounds over, there is a major problem, as well as a health risk, to deal with.
What to Do
Next, ask yourself a few questions:
Did your investigation reveal that the reason for the weight gain is simply too much food and too little exercise? If so, take comfort in the fact that this is the case for most overweight dogs. Certainly an increase in exercise combined with a decrease in dietary calories will help, but there are many ways to solve the problem. Here are a few to try:
Text © 2007 by Robert D. "Jake" Tedaldi, D.V.M.