From Left: Fit, Fat, Obese
Diagram from The Whole Dog Journal (www.whole-dog-journal.com/)
It's a (forgive the pun) HUGE subject. It's actually a problem of epidemic proportions.
Overweight dogs don't live as long as fit dogs. And they don't get overweight because they were spayed or neutered, per se.
Being altered can change their metabolism, but all that means is that you need to feed them less (and save the money - in fact, the surgery may then pay for itself, eh?)
To get them to lose weight, feed them less, and/or exercise them more. (Dogs should exercise twice a day, generally speaking.)
Remember to reduce portions gradually, so he doesn't get too hungry.
Obviously Obese (This is abuse, no?)
Poor Little Fat Dog - Hard to get around!
Please don't let your dog get - or stay - overweight. As a rule, you want to be able to feel your dog's ribs, but not see them. With some exceptions by breed, a fit dog should have an indented waistline. You should be able to feel individual ribs and the space between each rib. Dogs tend to put on weight at the shoulder blades, hips and tail head. These areas should be "readily palpable.”
Before starting a diet/exercise regime, see your veterinarian to rule out any metabolic disorders and arthritis, both of which can decrease energy and the dog's interest in exercise. If the dog does have arthritis, it is even MORE important that he lose weight!
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