7 Things Excess Weight Makes Worse in Pets
Almost 60% of dogs in America are dangerously overweight. A pet that’s just 10% to 20% over his ideal weight can suffer from:
- Canine diabetes.
- Digestive problems including constipation, flatulence and diarrhea. Phew, who needs it!
- Serious damage to joints, bones, and ligaments are a direct result of too much weight.
- Heart disease and high blood pressure.
- Difficulty breathing – fat pushes on the abdomen wall and there is less room in the for the lungs to fill properly. Overweight dogs often wheeze, unable to take a full, deep breath.
- Increased chance of cancer could be another risk to your Morkie who’s overweight. The exact link between obesity and cancer isn’t known yet, but why take chances?
- A shorter life – just like people, dogs with all the burdens overweight causes, simply don’t live as long.
Keep your Morkie fit and trim and she’ll be a happy, lively companion for many years.
How can you tell your Morkie is overweight?
Many of us don’t want to see what’s right there. But there are obvious signs of overweight in dogs. First, from the side, you should be able to see a definite ‘tuck’ at his stomach.
From overhead, what shape is your Morkie?
- He should have a clear waist, not just go straight down.
Here’s what to look for from a top view of your Morkie
Three ways you can help your Morkie slim down
1. Cut out dog treats and people food
If your Morkie needs a reward, try a baby carrot or a good ear scratching. Otherwise, cut out all snacks. Today’s commercial dog treats are so high in salt, fat and sugar that they’re addictive. Dr. Ernie Ward, who heads up a not-for- profit organization dedicated to healthier pets, calls them “kibble crack.” If you cut out treats and snacks, your Morkie will also miss also a number of questionable products, including rawhide chew sticks, dental sticks, “greenies” and begging strips.
2. Gradually reduce your Morkie’s dog food
Does your Morkie have a health problem that’s making her overweight? Check with your Veterinarian before you start any weight reduction program. Go for a gradual and steady loss of weigh over a number of weeks or even months. Reduce your pup’s calorie intake over several weeks, by carefully measuring your Morkie’s usual meal. Then reduce it by 5% to 10% every two or three weeks. Tip: feed your dog at the same times every day, dividing the food into 3 or 4 portions to help him cope.
Now the hard part: daily exercise.
If you’re not on a regular walking program with your dog, why not start one today.
Start out small and build up over time. For the first week, a 10-minute walk every day will be enough to get the ball rolling. Every week, increase this by 5 minutes until you’re up to half an hour.
Then add a second, short walk per day – starting at 10 minutes. Soon you’ll be up to two 30 minute walks per day and both you and your dog will see excellent results.
Weigh your dog regularly and chart your progress – check pet stores for scales sized to Morkies, or use a baby scale (often on sale online, or available in thrift stores).
Monitor your Morkie’s weight
Keep an eye on your Morkie’s weight with regular monitoring. Invest in a baby scale and track his weight once a month in a notebook. A pound or two, either way, doesn’t seem like a lot of weight, but it could represent 20% of your Morkie’s weight. That’s like the average 140-pound woman gaining (or losing) about 30 pounds.
Baby scales are available online and in stores, or check your local thrift shop.
We're so used to overweight dogs, we don't see it any more.
At least 65% of all dogs in America are overweight.
No wonder our dogs are getting dangerously heavy.
An estimated 160 million Americans are either obese or overweight. Nearly three-quarters of American men and more than 60% of women are obese or overweight. These are also major challenges for America’s children – nearly 30% of boys and girls under age 20 are either obese or overweight, up from 19% in 1980.
– source: The CDC