Keeping Your Dog Fit – What’s Fat, What’s Fit

Obesity isn’t just a problem for people; obesity is rampant in pets as well. According to PetMD, a recent survey indicates over 50 percent of America’s pet population are overweight or obese. Dog obesity is a result of bad diet and lack of exercise, the same way it is in humans.

Dog obesity contributes to a high rate of disease, just as it does with people. Some health problems associated with obesity in dogs include:

  • Diabetes
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Stroke
  • Seizures
  • Cancer

Can My Dog be Too Skinny?

Sometimes the opposite situation is the problem. I am always asking my veterinarian “is my dog too skinny?” Part of her thinness is a breed characteristic and some of it is due to a high activity level, but I’m always worried about worms. I have her checked regularly, and give her regular worming medicines.

Flea and tick control is important for all dogs, but even more important for thin dogs that can lose too much body weight feeding fleas or ticks. I use Frontline Plus Flea and Tick Control for Dogs to make sure Batty is always free of fleas.

Even though being underweight is not going to cause the types of health problems that obesity does, it is a problem. If the cause of your dog’s thinness is a lack of proper nutrition or flea or tick infestation, they aren’t getting what their body needs to be healthy. Being too thin can cause death from organ failure, brain seizures and other health problems. So, don’t ignore your dog’s health just because they’re not fat.

Picking the Right Food for Your Dog

I found out from my vet that not all dog food is created equal either. Just because it is sold in a store doesn’t make it a good choice for your pet. Many commercial brand dog foods contain a lot of fillers, and they are usually useless nutritionally. Merrick 5 Star Wilderness Blend is a great food choice, and there are many others that you can find at the better pet supply stores such as

If you’re worried about your dog’s health, make sure they aren’t too heavy by placing your hands flat down each side behind each foreleg with your thumbs locked together over their shoulder blades. Exert gentle pressure as you run your hands back toward their hip.

If you can’t feel their ribs easily, your dog is too fat. If you can’t even feel them when you press in hard, your dog is obese. If your dog is too fat, learn how to help your dog lose weight. Start with regular exercise; dogs and exercise are a natural mix. They love to play; however, many will not instigate play. They need you to play with them. The great thing is that it will help you keep your weight down too.

Make sure you are feeding them the proper amount, and limit treats. When you do give your dog a treat, make it a low-calorie option such as Bully Sticks.

You shouldn’t be able to see your dog’s ribs, or feel them without any pressure either. If you can, you should find out how to improve their weight. If you are wondering “why is my dog so skinny”, ask your veterinarian to do a worm test, and then a blood test to rule out thyroid or metabolic issues. Once you have a clean bill of health for your dog, start on a good feeding schedule that helps with keeping dogs healthy.

Exercise for Dogs

You’re not going to get your dog to do pushups. The kind of exercise that improves your dog’s health is cardiovascular. Just like in people, cardio workouts increase metabolism and just make them feel good. Good options for exercise include a daily walk. That’s a great way to keep both of you healthy.

Even if you have a yard to let them out to potty, take them out on a leash and walk around the block a few times. For more heavy-duty exercise, pick up a Frisbee or a tennis ball and teach your dog to fetch. Fetch is a very active play activity that enriches your dog’s mind as well as his body.

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