The Health Impacts Of A Fat Dog

The Health Impacts Of A Fat Dog

There are lots of reports that sadly suggest that our dogs are getting fatter with well over half of UK pooches now classed as overwight or obese.  In this article I explain the real health issues that can happen when dogs become overweight.

 

 

Heart Disease

Obesity does not increase the risk for coronary artery disease in dogs in the same way it does in humans. What it does do, however, is have adverse effects on the heart's ability to pump blood effectively around the body as well as increase their risk of having high blood pressure. This can lead to a significant deterioration in fitness with he dog’s heart having to work that much harder.  .

 

Diabetes

Much like humans, dogs that are overweight are more predisposed to having diabetes, and it is one of the  most common obesity-related problem for dogs.

Increased thirst and urination are the two most common signs  of diabetes and if it is not caught early it can lead to a very dangerous medical condition known as Diabetic Ketoacidosis.

Diabetes is a very intense and costly condition to manage for both owner and their dog as similarly to humans, multiple daily injections are required to safely manage insulin levels.

 

Breathing Conditions

Overweight dogs are more likely to suffer from conditions such as laryngeal paralysis and tracheal collapse, which can be a serious threat to life.

Overweight flat faced breeds such as bulldogs, pugs and frenchies that suffer with BOAS (brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome) are also much more likely to struggle with their breathing because of excessive fat tissue surrounding and narrowing the upper airway.

 

Osteoarthritis and joint conditions

Unsurprisingly, additional weight puts extra pressure on a dog’s joints. The additional pressure accelerates the deterioration of joint cartilage which leads to arthritis. Overweight dogs are also at increased risk of tearing their anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and suffering from intervertebral disk disease (IVDD) both of which require expensive surgery by specialist surgeons to repair.

 

Some types of cancer

Studies have proven that obesity is associated with the increased risk of certain cancers in dogs.

These include:

  • Mast cell tumours
  • Mammary Tumours
  • Transitional cell carcinomas of the bladder.

 

 All of these conditions can be costly to treat and will significantly shorten your dogs lifespan so there is a real positive motivation for getting your dog to a healthy weight. The good news is that most of these conditions can be easily prevented by ensuring that your dog has the correct balance of a nutritious diet and adequate exercise to maintain a healthy weight. In theory this sounds simple but things can quickly derail due to a number of factors such as lifestyle changes or bad habits creeping into daily life.

 

If you are concerned about your dog's weight or you are unsure on whether or not your dog is overweight you should be able to book in for a free weight clinic appointment at your local vets who will be able to guide you through the steps to getting rid of that pooches paunch.

 

Paul Manktelow

Veterinary Surgeon
Dr Paul Manktelow is a vet who's worked for almost 20 years on the front line in some of the UK's busiest veterinary hospitals. Paul also appears regularly in the media as a TV and radio presenter, writer, public speaker and podcast producer.