Dog Nutritional Consultations
Dogs can become overweight, just like humans, but it is often harder for people to evaluate and identify the body condition of dogs effectively. Overweight dogs can be easily overlooked by someone who isn’t trained to recognize a normal, healthy body condition. It is important to maintain a healthy body condition to improve quality of life and longevity. Excess body weight can lead to early-onset arthritis, joint injuries, and reduce lifespan by as much as two years. Our bond with our pets can be very strong, and sometimes we want to show our love by giving extra food, treats, and human snacks. This is a common cause of weight gain, as well as over-feeding higher calorie kibble diets. Many popular dog foods are very rich and are often not right for a dog with a lower metabolism. Some health conditions can also cause unexpected weight gain, so it is important to discuss any unplanned changes in weight with your veterinarian.
When is a dog considered to be overweight?
Veterinary professionals use what is called a Body Condition Score (BCS) to assess your pets with a score ranging from 1 to 9. A score of 4-5 is a pet’s ideal body condition. The criteria of an ideal body condition include: being able to feel the ribs easily with minimal fat covering, the waist being visible from above, and a tucked-up abdomen being visible from the side. A score higher than 5 is overweight, and a score higher than 7 is obese.
Are some breeds prone to obesity?
Beagles, Labrador Retrievers, English Bulldogs, Cocker Spaniels, Dachshunds, Pugs, and Cairn Terriers are some breeds that are prone to obesity. However, any dog can become obese with an improper diet or exercise routine.
Why should my dog have a weight loss consultation at the hospital?
Our veterinarians can assess your pet’s diet and weight during a consultation. If weight loss is recommended by our veterinarians, they can develop a treatment plan to help your pet lose weight safely. It will often include reducing amounts of feeding or transitioning to lower-calorie options. Our veterinarians can help identify specific diets and feeding plans, as well as aid in ideas for exercise routines that fit your lifestyle. They can help set goals for an ideal weight and set up a monitoring plan. Weigh-ins at our clinic scale are always an option. Pop in and say hi between consultations, and we can weigh your pet to see if they are on track for their weight loss goals.