Obesity is one of the biggest factors affecting dog health today. With Obesity effecting over 6% of dogs today (This could be larger as the sample size of the study is unknown – http://www.rvc.ac.uk/vetcompass/reports-and-publications#tab-vet-compass-posters)
I’m not going to go into the discussion of which food is best, and what is in dog food. That’s a long tale of a subject, and I am not well versed in it to go about posting opinions.
I can on the other hand post about people thinking food = love in dogs. It does not, all the dog thinks is “Yippe food, ….ooh more food” in their eyes, humans become a food carrying device. The dog isn’t coming because you called, because he must come to you because you said so. He’s coming back because he know’s you have food and he quite likes food.
So many dogs are becoming over weight because the owner gives into the big doe eyes at the dinner table, letting their dogs manipulate them into giving them food.
Dogs are scavengers, and opportunists. When an opportunity presents itself they will exploit it, it’s how they became domesticated. Through exploiting humans waste thousands of years ago. So when they realise your eating food, and your willing to give them the best bits of just staring at you, you be their going to keep on staring.
Do you want your dog to only think of you as a food carrier? I’ve seen it countless time’s before, the dog won’t do anything without a treat. It’s disheartening for the owner, the dog is hyped up on sugar….and most of all the dog and owner aren’t working together as they should.
The bond between a dog an owner should be made from physical contact, wanting to be together via choice not bribery. Playing with together and build that bond in a way they would with other dogs, where food is never involved.
An obese dog can’t do the normal behaviours it should do. it can’t function properly. Just like humans it has a huge effect on health, and longevity of life. Dog’s already live shortened lives compared to us, why would you help them end it faster via something that is very preventable?
Yes certain things are thought to be factors such as neutering, or old age or breed. But this isn’t an excuse to have a fat pet! Just because you have a Labrador doesn’t mean it has to be a rolling ball of fat. It can be fit an healthy, it’s your perception of healthy, and when you pet pants to cross the room there is a big problem.
But when the winners of “Best of Breed” are fat themselves, and very not fit for function it plagues the question of if the media has a lot to blame for our perception of dogs, or the other dogs we see on walks. Dog owners should be questioning what is right! We bang on about body image in people, and how we consider media portrays us to be thinner, but its the opposite in dogs…… as larger dogs need more food…. and more vet visits…. (Just an opinion).
Crufts Best of Breed Labrador this year (2015):
Can’t see no ribs on her, but can see a good coating of fat. Look at the front extra skin ad rolls on neck.
Below is what I would consider a fitter Labrador:
Ribs just about visible, but would certainly be feel able when touched. Tuck is nice,and no extra fat!
I’m not picking on one breed over another, just trying to illustrate the issue. All breeds can be fat or thin, it’s like people. We can regulate what we eat via choice, dog’s have very little choice.
Either way there are ways to check your dogs healthy and not fat, as well as interested in you not the food!
A dog body condition score chart can help:
Below is the image of my own dog:
He’s actually got more weight on than I would like, but with behaviour work taking over recently he hasn’t been getting the exercise nor security work we usually do. I know I can feel his ribs, and his tuck is not fatty so I would score him about a 5/almost 6. I’d prefer a 4 so his weight doesn’t effect him but that will be remedied in a few weeks. (At this time we was also getting too much food, as he was getting the waste food of my female in season who was not eating everything)
https://www.facebook.com/groups/HealthyThinDogs/?fref=ts this is a link to a very good facebook group showcasing fit and healthy dogs. Well worth a look!
Exercise plays a big issue in dogs weight, not enough can mean they don’t burn off the food they are eating. But not exercising can also mean the dog is more likely to eat more,…..why? When you think about what a dog has to look forward to in a day its not many things. Breakfast, Snacks, Walks, Tea….unless you do train with your dog and engage with them, rather than just having them there to look at or own, just because. Time with you is what they should look forward too, not food all the time. This super interest in food leads to them stuffing their face, and begging for more as it’s all they have to look forward too. It’s the only thing that makes them feel good in the day round walks. It’s sad isn’t it?
Engage with your dogs! Train them, spend time with them, enjoy their company and bond with them. Don’t let food be their only enjoyment in life. They should be wanting to chase a ball, run with you, wanting to engage with you. Not for the kibble in your pocket, but for the reward you give them with your smile and laughter, as well as feeling of happiness.
This is one small snippet in the huge issue of obesity, and it’s just my opinion but if people start to realise the effect it is having on our dogs, those dogs we love then we can make their lives happier and healthier.