Obesity in dogs

Dr Lauren’s exercise program

Did you know that approximately 40% of dogs are overweight. Obesity in pets is one of the main risk factors for a number of potentially serious diseases. If your pet is overweight, a combination of increased exercise and diet modification is advised.

To help get you started, Dr Lauren has devised exercise programs to help both you and your dog attain a healthy weight whilst having fun at the same time. For more information, drop in to the clinic and ask to see Lauren. Videos of the following example series of exercises are available to help get you started.

Exercise Program

  1. Shuttle Runs
  2. Tricep dips with a ball/treat throw
  3. Step ups
  4. Modified Burpee “stop, drop & roll over (see if you can get your dog to roll over!)
  5. Stair climbs
  6. Sit up with a pat

Always remember to bring water along for you and your dog, and exercise in the cool of the morning or evening. Have fun!


What we know so far about obesity in pets


Dogs are more likely to encounter weight control problems than cats.
Animals at greater risk are female, neutered, older, poorly exercised, animals with obese owners, “only” pets (i.e. single pet households).
Obesity is associated with medical problems such as osteoarthritis, cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance, liver disease and increased surgical risk.
There is still a lot of debate about definition and assessment of overweight in companion animals, as well as pathogenesis and treatment.
The overweight pet has a shorter life span and poorer quality of life, compromising its welfare.
The incidence of obesity in pets increases with the incidence of obesity in owners.
Obesity is the product of a positive energy balance where caloric intake exceeds output, leading to adiposity. Only 5% of cases are treatable medically. 95% of cases must be treated through control of caloric intake.
The bond between the owner and the animal is a crucial factor determining the caloric intake and subsequent body condition of an animal.
In 2000, a survey was conducted by RSPCA Australia to determine the prevalence of overweight and obesity in the Australian companion animal population. The aim of the survey was to determine the extent of the problem and attempt to identify possible avenues of further study.
The survey’s findings confirm the widely held view that the prevalence of overweight pets in Australia is alarmingly high. Several questions are raised regarding the role of veterinarians and animal welfare organisations in the control of pet obesity, the importance of altering community perceptions of weight problems in pets, and the introduction of a standard for measuring body condition in companion animals. The bond between animals and humans, and its significance in strategies aimed at reducing the problem, is another potentially fruitful field for further enquiry

extract from the Australian Veterinary Association media centre

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