Is your pup getting a little round around the mid-section? Dr. Kerri Nelson, Medical Director with Veterinary Emergency Group in Denver has some advice on how to help a pet lose weight and keep them healthy.

According to Dr. Nelson, a dog is considered obese if he weighs at least 20% more than his recommended body weight. This number fluctuates significantly depending on the dog’s breed.  Male dogs typically weigh more than females in any breed.

There are several health problems linked with dog obesity, including:

  •     Heart disease is one of the most significant problems caused by obesity in dogs. Just like humans, dogs who are obese are at a higher risk of heart trouble. Help keep your dog’s heart healthy and functioning normally by keeping him at a healthy weight.
  • Joint and mobility issues can occur in dogs who are not obese, and they aren’t limited only to dogs with weight problems. However, obesity can significantly increase a dog’s risk of joint problems like arthritis or rupturing ligaments.
  • Diabetes is very common in obese dogs. If your dog stays obese for too long, his risk of diabetes will increase significantly. A dog who is diagnosed with diabetes will need to be given insulin injections and will need to be closely monitored by you and your vet for the rest of his life.
  • Breathing Difficulty: Dogs who are too overweight may have trouble breathing. 

There are some simple ways to help your dog lose weight. Dr. Nelson suggest changing your dog’s diet to something healthier or limit their treats or switch the treats to a healthier options like baby carrots. Exercise is very important, make sure they get enough of a workout depending on the breed type and size.

If you know or think your pet is having an emergency and your family veterinarian is unavailable, call an emergency vet right away. At VEG, you can speak directly to an emergency veterinarian who will help you with knowing what the next steps are.