Medical Problems With Obese Dogs

Obese dogs are more prone to certain diseases due to the extra weight they carry on a daily basis. The health risks of overweight dogs may be severe and should convince the owners to start a weight loss program for their pet.

Canine Diabetes

Obese dogs have an elevated glucose level and this increases the secretion of insulin. However, the extra fat tissues of the dog will require additional insulin and if the body cannot produce enough insulin, it results in diabetes.

Diabetes is a manageable condition, but requires permanent supervision and insulin shots.

Joints, Bones and Ligaments

The extra weight means extra stress on the bones, ligaments, muscles, tendons and joints of the dog. In time, these will be damaged and the dog can develop arthritis.

Ligaments in the knee may also be severely damaged or even torn.

Arthritis and ligament injuries will result in pain and difficulty in moving. Surgery may be needed to fix the ligaments, while arthritis can be managed with anti-inflammatory and pain medication. Arthritis is not a curable condition.

Increased Blood Pressure

Obese dogs have high blood pressure. This can lead to different heart conditions, including heart failure.

Heart Disease

Overweight dogs develop heart diseases as a direct result of hypertension. The increased heart beat plus the need to pump blood in the additional fat tissues will exhaust the heart. This can result in heart failure.

Respiratory Problems

The extra fat in obese dogs will cause respiration problems. The lungs cannot expand properly due to the excess fat. In addition, the lungs need to supply more oxygen to the extra tissues.

Liver Problems

The liver is exhausted in obese dogs. A lot of fat is deposited in the liver, and this can develop into hepatic lipidosis. The liver cannot function properly.

Higher Surgical Risk

Obese dogs have thick fat deposits, which means that surgeries may be more complicated and take longer.

The fact that the heart and lungs are subjected to extra work can have severe consequences during a surgery. Cardiac arrest occurs more often than in dogs with a normal weight.

The anesthetics during surgery will be deposited in the fat tissues, and this leads to an extended anesthesia. An extended anesthesia may also be due to great amounts of fat in the liver, making it more difficult to break down the anesthetics.

Skin and Coat Problems

Obese dogs often have an unhealthy looking coat and skin.

An obese dog has excess skin which is folded, creating pockets. The skin naturally produces oils, which gather in the skin pockets, creating a good environment for bacteria and facilitating other infections.

An overweight dog is less active, is intolerant to heat, may be irritable and may develop digestive problems such as constipation or flatulence. Overweight dogs also have a lower life expectancy.

Talk to your vet about a weight loss program. Reduce the amount of calorie intake per day and try to engage your dog in different activities that will help him lose weight. Running, fetching the frisbee, swimming or even exercises on the treadmill may be stimulating activities for a dieting dog. Remember that an obese dog will need to be motivated to start working out, and this may take a lot of patience.