If you are lucky enough to have at least one dog, you have surely noticed that your faithful friend is always ready to eat. If you have the feeling that your four-legged baby is always hungry, do not worry, you are not the exception, and you should not feel guilty because it is true, your dog always seems to be hungry.
Biologically, dogs respond to their survival instinct, a primitive urge that encourages them to eat as much as they can to be prepared for a possible lack of food in the future. Dominance over resources, food, in this case, is for canids not only a matter of biological need but also a matter of power, of survival of the fittest due to their behavior.
From a technical point of view, the nutritional requirements of each dog depend on factors including age, genetics, level of activity, and its health condition, among others.
Despite the efforts of masters, veterinarians, and food manufacturers to find the diet that best suits each stage of our pet’s life, overfeeding is a very frequent problem today.
Slight excess weight is a health problem that often goes unnoticed by most people who have pets. Generally, overweight is detected by veterinarians, who assure that approximately half of their canine patients are somewhat overweight, while a part of them show clear signs of obesity.
Promoted by our modern lifestyle that allows humans to decide entirely on the diet of their pets, being overweight is a typical problem of our time.
In recent decades, with most humans living in urban areas where space is increasingly tight, a dog’s physical exercise is certainly much less than that of its rural ancestors.
In the same way, as in humans, a dog will gain weight when the energy intake exceeds the daily calorie expenditure, favoring the formation of adipose tissue. The deposit of fats in certain parts of the body contributes to an increase in body mass and, consequently, to an increase in weight.
Obese dogs are more likely to suffer not only from orthopedic complications and injuries as a result of increased pressure on the joints and ligaments but also from bone, cardiovascular, hypertension, diabetes, and other endocrine disorders. Excess weight can also affect medical treatments and therapeutic procedures.
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Each dog has a different metabolism and therefore, a specific nutritional demand, which can be affected by hormonal factors. Neutered and older animals are more likely to develop a weight that exceeds their healthy weight. In general, any dog with an inadequately balanced diet, excessive intake of foods rich in fat and sugar, and insufficient exercise will develop overweight. Some breeds have a genetic predisposition for obesity.
10 Tips to prevent overweight in your pet
▪ Establish a fixed schedule for food and ration the amount of food offered.
▪ For those who are not at home during the day, an automatic feeder or interactive dispensers are a good option.
▪ Do not leave food within reach of the dog between hours or available throughout the day. Watch out! This premise does not count for water, which must always be fresh and available.
▪ Avoid sweets and snacks with high caloric content, anything that contains fat or sugar.
▪ Offer fresh vegetables as snacks between meals, such as diced carrots, lettuce, banana, or apple without seeds.
▪ Ensure an adequate level of physical activity according to the requirements of your race or personality.
▪ Consult about nutrition each time you visit the vet, so you can make adjustments to the diet if necessary.
▪ Performing regular weight checks on older dogs are already more prone to obesity and related diseases, such as diabetes.
▪ Do not feed your dog with human food, as it contains salt in amounts that can affect your pet’s kidney and liver function.
▪ Remember that affection and good times help keep both your dog and its owner healthy.