If your dog has arthritis or is at risk of developing arthritis, managing their weight is the most important thing you can do to help them.
Did you know that at least 50% of dogs are believed to be overweight?
Below are the six biggest risk factors for dog obesity:
- Genetics and breed. Some dogs are just genetically more likely to be overweight or obese. The top breeds include:
- Golden Retrievers
- Bulldogs (both French and English)
- Mixed breeds
- Are they spayed or neutered? Spayed and neutered dogs are two times more likely to be overweight than intact dogs. When dogs are spayed or neutered, their metabolism decreases but their appetite increases.
- Age. Much like with people, as dogs age, they lose lean muscle and have an increased fat deposit and are more likely to become overweight.
- Activity level. Dogs that aren’t very active or dogs that become less active over time are more likely to gain weight. (Taking regular walks with your dog can help both of you keep off extra pounds!)
- Free feeding. Filling your dog’s food bowl and letting them eat whenever they like, or using automatic feeders that refill when your dog eats kibble, makes it easy for extra pounds to creep on. Feed your dog a specific amount of food at meal times and don’t let them graze all day.
- High-calorie treats and high-fat food. Fat has more calories per gram, compared to protein and carbohydrates. Feeding too many treats leads to excessive calorie intake. You can still give your dog treats, but you need to be aware of the calories in the treats and make adjustments elsewhere.