A recent study conducted by The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention reveals that 52.7% of dogs in the US were overweight, of which 17.6% were obese. What’s more shocking is that 95% of the owners of overweight dogs did not think their pet was overweight. In other words, at least one in every two dogs in this country is overweight, and most of these conditions are gone unnoticed and untreated.
In the long run, overweight dogs can develop one or more of the following health problems.
• Heart disease
• Reduced life span (up to 2.5 years)
• Knee problems (ruptured ligaments)
• Labored or difficult breathing
• Greater risk for heatstroke
• Immune system problems
• Pancreas problem
Veterinarians say the most effective way to prevent obesity in dogs is to provide adequate exercise in conjunction with monitored calorie intake.
*Regular exercise can help prevent and reduce the following unwanted behaviors:
• Restlessness or hyperactivity.
• Excessive licking or chewing his own body.
• Attention-seeking behaviors such as barking and whining
• Low confidence due to fear or lack of trust
• Destructive behaviors such as chewing, digging and scratching.
*Contrary to the popular belief: “a tired dog is a happy dog”, pet parents should be advised that exercise alone will not fix Fido’s behavior problems. This is a grossly misleading statement because dogs need both physical and mental stimulations to be happy. A mentally unbalanced, unchallenged tired dog is, well, a tired dog before he gathers enough energy to misbehave again.
If your dog has behavior problems such as separation anxiety, aggression, unruliness, or obsessive compulsiveness, your best bet is to work with a professional trainer. Daily training (mental exercise) should be the foremost treatment for unwanted canine behaviors. Structured physical exercise will help accelerate the rehabilitation of your pet, as a supplement to consistent training.