Getting weight off a dog is never easy or fun as it requires persistence and dedication. Dogs can gain weight for a wide range of reasons, like underlining health issue, too many treats, or overeating. Regardless of the reason, an overweight pet is never a good thing, and it is important for pet owners to look into it as soon as possible. Statistics have shown that about half of American pets are either obese or overweight. This can lead to stress on your dog’s body, aggravate other health issues, and may take some years off your dog’s life. Here are the top 10 reasons your dog can’t lose weight.
This may seem an obvious point but there are certain ways your dog might be eating too much without your knowledge. This is especially true if other members of your household give your dog people food or treats. A smart way to keep track of your pet’s people food or treats consumption is to put a mark on a calendar or whiteboard when a treat was given. This will allow all members of your household to keep track.
Some dog breeds are just more likely to gain weight more than others. The reasons for this weight gain vary, from being greedy, eats anything dog or being a typically sedentary dog who needs to be encouraged to exercise, to having a high requirement that dog owners don’t usually meet.
Just like humans, as dogs age, they lose their muscle mass with time. This condition is also referred to as sarcopenia. A loss of muscle mass is usually associated with a slower metabolism, which causes fat gain. Diets with higher protein levels have been shown to help delay or slow the loss of muscle. To avoid this, ensure your dog stays active and healthy in old age, and take them to see the vet once they begin to slow down so much so that the quality of their life is suffering. The vet will know the best option for your dog to get back on their steps.
Not Enough Exercise
Another reason your dog may be having difficulty losing weight is if they are a bit too sedentary. However, there can be a twist to this exercise equation. Just like humans, dogs tend to adapt to exercise routines, which may over time render them less effective. If your canine friend takes walks every day, you can add 5 to 10 minutes of higher intensity to the mix. A rousing game of fetch is a great option.
Ironically, some dog foods advertised for senior or overweight dogs can contribute to weight gain. If the dog’s food calorie count is lowered by removing protein or fat and adding carbohydrates, insulin production will be stimulated, which causes an increased appetite and higher body fat. Instead, choose a dog food that is lower in carbohydrates and higher in protein to keep your furry friend lean and full.
Eating from Another Pet’s Bowl
Another reason your dog is not losing weight might be because they are stealing food from other pets. This is especially true for dogs in a multi-pet household. Meal feeding your animals once or twice a day is the best way to prevent this problem. Start by separating feeding the dieting dog, and once the pets have finished eating pick up the bowls. If there are cats in your household, place their food bowls where the dogs can’t reach. Alternatively, you can put the cat’s food bowls in a part of your house where the dogs don’t have access to.
Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative arthritis is a common form of arthritis in pets and it is caused by their joints’ cartilage wearing down. This condition sometimes causes hip pain in dogs. The more they are overweight, the greater the strain on their joints. Sadly, the pain osteoarthritis causes make it difficult for your dog to exercise and will make it very likely for your pet will gain weight from this condition. Consult your dog about the treatment of osteoarthritis, which might include pain medication and physical therapy.
Around 4-6 years, dogs with hypothyroidism sometimes start to display some symptoms of this disease, which include lethargy, excessive shedding, and weight gain. If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, it is smart to take them to the vet for treatment right away.
Cushing’s disease is a common disease found in dogs six years or older. This disease occurs as a result of the overproduction of the cortisol hormone by the dog’s adrenal glands. Some of Cushing’s disease symptoms include a stiff walk, lethargy, weight gain, and a dull coat.
Symptoms of hip dysplasia include difficulty hopping up into a car or climbing stairs as well as limping. Also, your pet may show indications of pain when their hip is touched, and chew or lick at the hip area. If you start noticing symptoms like this or if your dog starts having difficulties performing other routine activities, then visiting a vet is recommended. Inactivity as a result of hip pain may lead to weight gain. This will make the hip dysplasia pain worse. Your vet might recommend massage therapy, pain-relief medication, or even surgery in more severe cases.
With these tips, a little detective work, and some patience, you can discover your pet’s weight-loss saboteur and get your friend back on the track to wellness and health in time. If you think your dog can still lose weight, visiting your vet to explore potential solutions and causes can help you avert detrimental issues that can result from an overweight dog.