For a while now vets have been a little concerned at the number of dogs (and other pets) they see that suffer from health issues that are weight related. Obesity in dogs is cause for real concern because carrying those extra pounds puts a lot of stress on their bodies. It increases the chances of your pet suffering from conditions like arthritis, diabetes and cancer. Another reason to worry is your dog will be carrying fat deposits around their lungs which would affect how they perform and this means your dog's breathing ability may be compromised too.
Research into how obesity affects a dog's lungs has shown it can have a serious affect on their function and although the studies are only in their early stages it show how important it is for an overweight dog to be put on a diet sooner rather than later or it could mean their live spans are compromised.
If any sort of exercise makes your dog pant excessively or it leaves them short of breath, it means a lot of pressure is not only being put on their lungs but their hearts too. This is because of the bulky fat deposits found on their diaphragms puts a lot of stress on their bodies when they walk – and this includes short distances. However, studies that have been carried out on obese people and the affect their extra weight has on their lungs, has shown things may be even more complex which could apply to dogs and other obese pets too. Obesity could cause the elasticity of lungs and chest tissues to alter and this in turn means breathing could be severely affected which in turn puts stress on the heart.
Vets carried out a 6 minute walk test on Beagles to check their heart rate, their respiration rate as well as their blood oxygen levels which was done before the test, during it and then afterwards. More 6 minute walk tests were carried out further down the line to assess whether lung function has increased or decreased and this is based on the dogs having lost or gained weight over a specific time.
The test showed that not only are a dog's lungs affected but extra stress is placed upon a dog's heart which is something that should cause great concern too. The heart tries to compensate for the fact the lung's function is decreased and it does so by increasing the heart rate as well as the blood flow – this extra stress would need to be watched and a dog might even need some sort of medication to help their hearts cope.
If your dog is overweight and bordering on obesity you need to do something about their condition sooner rather than later remembering that any weight loss your pet achieves will have to be done over time. The extra pounds should be lost gradually and this needs to be achieved by them being fed a nutritious but restricted good quality diet. Obese dogs need to be given gentle and regular daily exercise remembering that extra fat they are carrying will have an impact on their lungs and hearts.
Putting your dog on a diet means keeping an eye on the amount of food your pet is given and the amount of exercise they are given. As your pet loses weight, you can up the amount of exercise they receive but this needs to be done gradually and you should ask your vet for advice. However, as your dog loses those unwanted pounds, their energy levels will naturally increase which should be quite noticeable after 2 to 3 weeks of them starting their carefully planned diet.
Obesity in dogs is a real problem but if your pet is overweight, you still need to put them on a diet so they get back into shape. The extra fat a dog carries can seriously impact lung function and this in turn puts too much pressure on their hearts. You'll find that as your pooch sheds those unwanted pounds they will have a lot more energy to enjoy life as dogs should do which involves going out for nice long walks, playing ball and chasing their tails when the urge takes them. On top of this by making sure your beloved four-legged friend is nice and slim, you have effectively helped them live a longer and happier life!