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Obesity in dogs

In the Netherlands, there are almost 2 million dogs and over 3 million cats. An estimated 45% of these pets are overweight, and in recent years, this percentage seems to be increasing. Obesity is not just a disease of affluence in adults and children, but also in our pets. And, just like in humans, this poses health risks for animals.

Each breed of dog will have its own health problems; for example, overweight German Shepherds may experience joint pain more quickly, Dachshunds may be at risk of a herniated disc, and short-nosed dogs may be more likely to experience breathing difficulties.

Jane Ladlow has done a lot of research on this, particularly when it comes to brachycephalic breeds. In the video below, she provides an example using a Pug:

It is clear that obesity is a major problem for all dog breeds, as evidenced by the special "obesity clinics" for animals that have already been established in the Netherlands and Belgium. In these clinics, veterinarians not only treat overweight animals, but above all help owners prevent (severe) obesity in their pets. After all, few dogs open the fridge themselves, and it is up to the owner to give them more or less food.

Nowadays we see our animals (rightfully) as members of the family, and we have a deeper emotional bond with them than before. That's why we also believe that our dogs are sad if they don't get a bite of our snacks or one of the tasty-looking treats from the pet store. But overweight in dogs, just like in humans, causes all kinds of different diseases and problems. The likelihood of the following conditions significantly increases:

  • The risk of diabetes increases

  • The risk of joint problems increases

  • The risk of liver diseases increases

  • The risk of heart and respiratory problems increases

  • The risk of skin problems increases

  • The risk of tumors increases

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