The internet loves overweight dogs. Who doesn’t like watching a chubby, wrinkly pug roll around the floor? If you’re the Instagram account administrator of the aforementioned pug, you probably get plenty of likes and a nice paycheck from Instagram too. It all seems well – you’re happy, your dog seems happy, and everyone gets a good laugh. But it must be said, these adorable internet famous pets are slowly dying inside.
To all pet owners, and even to myself who has an overweight dog, we must ask ourselves some important questions: is letting your dog gain weight bad? Is it inhumane? I unfortunately think it is, and here’s why.
Just like humans, obesity predisposes dogs to many types of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and a slew of orthopedic diseases, such as arthritis and joint pain. A recent multi-institutional study published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, titled “Association Between Life Span and Body Condition in Neutered Client-Owned Dogs,” reported that the lifespan of overweight dogs is up to 2 ½ years shorter on average than the lifespan of dogs with a healthy body weight. This result is quite sad, and I see it as a call to do everything we can to help our dogs lose weight. There are plenty of ways to accomplish this with exercise, dietary management, and lifestyle modifications, but perhaps the simplest place to start is with a quick calculation using a standardized formula.
Here, Bw is your dog’s body weight in kilograms (weight in pounds divided by 2.2). Raise that to a power of 0.75 and then multiply by 70. This will give you the total number of kilocalories (or kcals for short) your dog needs in one day to achieve a healthier body weight. You’re probably now asking, “what is my dog’s ideal body weight?” All you have to do is perform a quick google search of the typical body weight of your dog’s breed and use that. Once you calculate the total number of kcals your dog needs in one day, stick with it.
It may seem like a small amount of food. It may seem like your dog is starving. But it will be okay. Your dog will thank you when he or she lives a longer, leaner, and happier life. Get calculating!
Read more by Andrew.