Telling someone that their dog is fat is tricky business.
I met a dog that was like a barrel. His family filled him with love, but also with food. Lara, a Labrador breed, died at home while her guardians watched her, believing that her tranquility was due to the heat and sleep.
The adorable couple who took care of the dog for more than 10 years, said they could not find an explanation for her death. According to them, the dog was as healthy as an “apple” and free of disease. His bones were strong, he didn’t even have osteoarthritis, like many dogs his age, and he was totally happy.
But the reality is that Lara was obese.
The rule to know if a dog is in its weight is very simple.
- If you exceed 10% of your ideal weight, you are overweight. This means that a 10 kilo dog will be overweight if it weighs 11 kilos.
- If you are 20% or more above your ideal weight, you are obese. This means that a 10 kilo dog will be obese if it weighs 12 kilos or more.
Although a couple of extra kilos seem few to us, on the scale of dogs, it can be a lot.
Dog morphotypes are very varied. But to calculate the ideal figure, as a general rule, two images are taken:
- The dog’s profile: The rib marks will not be visible to the naked eye. If they will be palpable to the touch without squeezing or making much effort.
- The zenithal view or from above the dog’s body: There will be a visibly narrowing at the waist.
If your dog does not comply with this figure, start subtracting a little food per day until it reaches it. Your weight at that time will be ideal.
That a dog is fat does not imply that if or if it will behave inappropriately.
However, being overweight is related to a series of difficulties in dogs, which can end up influencing behavioral problems .
1. Difficulties in being understood: Dogs communicate through smells, sounds, gestures and movements. The fact of not being able to move freely affects the interpretation of the language that other dogs will make. This can cause misunderstandings.
Misunderstandings in communication are not due exclusively to fat. Dogs that have been mutilated, as is common in ear or tail cropping, can suffer from this misunderstanding by others.
2. Insecurity: An overweight dog will feel less agile and less capable. Being overweight directly affects self-esteem. This can lead to behavioral problems associated with a lack of self-confidence and autonomy. For example, the anxiety and fear that come when we leave the dog alone at home. This type of insecurity also appears in older dogs that feel less secure as they get older.
3. Stress: It is very likely that if our dog is fat it is because we are neglecting his needs for exercise and walking. This means that your dog does not expend the energy it needs and therefore has more stress .
1. Improve the diet: Take good care of the amount of calories you give a day. If you go too far and give him more than you consume, he will get fat. If you give him prizes or additional snacks, make sure that they do not have more than 2% fat in their composition and also regulate the amount of the daily food dose to compensate.
2. Increase the amount of exercise: and I don’t mean just going for a walk. Mental exercise is important for burning calories . Also, your dog will eat more slowly if you do it, for example, through an interactive toy or as a reward when practicing games and basic obedience exercises with you. You cannot imagine the amount of energy that the brain spends at full capacity!