Obesity can be caused by several different problems. It is mostly cause by a large intake of food that is not converted into energy but is stored as fat. Diets that are high in calories and endless amounts of treats, can put dogs that do not get enough exercise and geriatric/ senior dogs whose metabolic rate have decreased at a higher risk of obesity. Neutering and Spaying your dog will not cause them to gain weight. After the spay/neuter the dogs energy requirements will decrease and so will their metabolism due to certain hormonal shifts such as, leptin, a hormone that influences appetite and food intake, and insulin, which controls blood sugar. Veterinarians do encourage dog owners to neuter/spay their dogs before they become sexually mature and also encourage owners to decrease food intake after nature/spay.
? Breeds and Genetics: Breeds such as the Labrador, Golden Retriever, Beagle, Bassett Hound and Cocker Spaniel are predisposed to gaining weight than other breeds.
? Diseases: Certain endocrine diseases like diabetes, hyperthyroidism, and hypoadrenocorticism contribute to obesity in dogs.
? Medication: Some medications can cause the metabolism and appetite in a dog to change drastically, such as, Phenobarbital and benzodiazepines.
? Influence on food intake: Highly palatable foods increase a higher chance of dogs overconsuming. Owners play a big role in a dogs diet and dogs can easily gain weight when fed table scraps. Table scraps are high in calories and when added together with the dogs daily diet, the dog is over consuming more calories per day then they should be.
Owners who see their dogs all the time may not be able to notice any changes occurring because dogs add weight gradually and it can easily go unnoticed. The ideal weight of a dog is 3 out of 5 points, 1 point being very thin and 5 points being obese, according to the body condition system chart. Some signs and symptoms are:
? Weight gain: Dogs that have no visible ribs or waistline, protruding and descending abdomen.
? Difficulty in Modality: Leading to lack of exercise and other conditions like arthritis.
? Difficulty in Breathing: Over weight dogs tend to have difficulties in breathing, which is also known as dyspnea, when sleeping, exercising and lying down. Breathing problems are linked to heart disease and high blood pressure.
? Lack of Grooming: Overweight dogs have a hard time in grooming themselves which may lead to them having unhealthy matted coats. Lack of grooming may also lead to their skin getting irritated and infected with bacteria and causing other skin diseases.
? Lethargy: Obese dogs show signs of tiredness and weakness and are not interested in any type exercise.