Obesity affects the world like an epidemic. More and more countries realize that this is a problem that concerns us all in the short and long term and that, for better or worse, it is up to us as a society to try to find a solution. And, when it affects our pets, we must keep in mind that the fact that there are overweight dogs depends more on the owners than is thought.
What you should know about overweight dogs
Obesity is a nutritional disorder characterized by excess body fat. The dogs tend to suffer when not get enough exercise, follow an unbalanced diet or belong to a breed with a tendency to accumulate fat.
As with people, overweight dogs are exposed to mobility problems and coronary pathologies that can significantly reduce their life expectancy, even if the animal’s overweight is moderate.
The areas most affected by obesity in dogs are the following:
- Bones and joints
- Digestive organs
The most striking symptoms of canine obesity are an unusual weight gain, the presence of excess body fat and a worsening in both your mobility and your ability to breathe. The causes, as already mentioned, are related to an imbalance in your diet coupled with a lack of physical activity.
Certain races, however, have a natural tendency to gain weight. The owners of farmers, beagles or cocker spaniels, for example, should take special care with what their dogs eat to avoid excessive weight gain.
How the animal’s personality affects its weight
A team of scientists led by Eötvos Loránd, from the University of Budapest, published a study in the quite revealing Royal Society Open Science. The team explained that, in reality, the animals’ personality influences more than they think of their weight gain.
To test this theory they began by studying whether calorie-rich foods especially attracted dogs. A bowl was offered to the animals with food with a low energy content and another that contained food with high energy content. Meanwhile, the scientists encouraged the dog to eat the contents of the first bowl with words and signs.
It was found that animals that were already overweight tended to ignore ‘healthy’ food to devour the most caloric, as is the case with people who are already overweight. This led to thinking that dogs and people have a similar reaction to food, which can lead doctors to conduct studies with dogs with results applicable to people.
Despite this, scientists stress that, many times, the owners are responsible for overweight their pets and that the first thing is to change the routines of the animals before it is too late.