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The obesity rate in our pet dogs is rising almost as fast as it is in people. In some areas, up to 60% of dogs are carrying too much weight, and their health is suffering because of it.
Why are so many dogs becoming obese? Certainly in some cases there is a medical reason for weight gain, but recent research has suggested that this is the case in only 3% of obese dogs.
In the other 97% of dogs, weight gain results from an imbalance in the amount of energy that is eaten in food, and the amount that is used up in their daily activity. Excess energy is stored in the body as fat.
Let’s look closer at the causes of weight gain in dogs:
1. Too much energy in. This can occur when a dog is fed too much kibble, or a kibble with a higher fat content than they really need. However it occurs most often from those “added extras” that a dog is fed during the course of a day. Toast crusts at breakfast, a biscuit at morning tea, and leftover food from the dinner table all add up to more energy than most dogs need.
2. Too little energy used up. Most dogs don’t exercise themselves. In our time poor lives, it’s not always easy to find the hour or so a day we need to take our dogs for a walk. Also, walking isn’t very strenuous for dogs, so they don’t burn up very many calories. Ideally, our dogs should be taken for a run on a regular basis to keep them trim, taut and terrific.
In Summary – When a dog has become overweight, it is not easy to get that weight off them. It’s much easier to be proactive and prevent the weight gain in the first place. This involves watching closely what you feed your dog, and making sure they get enough exercise.
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