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Parents tend to underestimate how overweight their kids are , after all. If you notice that your pup is looking a little on the pudgy side, that's usually the first clue.

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An overweight dog chart, or body condition score BCS chart, can help:. On the 9-point scale, a score of 4 to 5 would be ideal for most breeds, while 3 can be normal in sighthounds Greyhounds, Whippets, Salukis, etc. One thing to keep in mind is that your vet may not comment on your dog's body condition unless you ask. Many studies in different regions and countries have attempted to identify the breeds most at risk for becoming obese. Though there were some conflicting results, across all studies, these breeds rose to the top of the list:. There are also breeds which have been documented as having lower metabolism compared to others, including Labs, Corgis, and Newfoundlands.

Obese and overweight puppies are particularly sensitive to the effects of excess body fat. In fact, multiple studies suggest that overweight puppies are more prone to what vets call developmental orthopedic diseases, which develop during growth and cause issues in the normal structure of the bones and cartilage within joints. If you're starting to think, my dog is getting fat and you're not sure why, there are number of possible reasons, from how he's exercised to his genetics to whether or not he's neutered.

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Let's start with an overview of the risk factors for dog obesity:. Breed or genetics : Some breeds have lower energy needs or may be more genetically predisposed to higher weights. Accepted official breed standards may contribute to the obesity epidemic too; a European study found that nearly 1 out of 5 show dogs had a BCS over 5. Neutering or spaying : Neutering or spaying can cause weight gain in both males and females.

This is most likely related to the influence of sex hormones on appetite, exercise, and perhaps, most important, the loss of lean body mass following the procedure. Overfeeding : Calorie-dense dry foods and commercial treats in particular are culprits. Also note, one large daily meal could lead to overfeeding. Go with more frequent meals—and remember that portion-control is essential. Lack of exercise : It's just as important for dogs to get moving daily as it is for humans; and pets who get less exercise require fewer calories than active pets.

Sex : Female dogs are more likely to be overweight than male dogs, and prevalence increases after spaying. Even if a dog has risk factors for obesity, those ultimately affect metabolism, and how many calories a dog needs to eat in a day. But the prevention and treatment of excess weight comes down to diet. It's on the owners to make sure they're feeding their dog the right amount of calories for her needs.

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Here are the sorts of things that can lead to too many calories:. What most owners think of as regular exercise, like a trip around the block, doesn't really burn a ton of calories. That's why exercise isn't the only thing to adjust if you're trying to help your dog lose weight or prevent weight gain.

You should exercise your dog for a number of reasons , but no matter what, if you feed him excess calories, he's still likely to gain weight.

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Clearly dogs who exercise less appear predisposed to obesity, and obese and overweight dogs are less active. It's a classic "what comes first, the chicken or the egg? Activity monitors have documented that this is true even during the day, when their owners are away.

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So some social interaction, whether with you or another dog, does likely impact metabolism. Definitely keep your vet in the loop when starting a weight-loss plan. It's best to get their input on how much your dog should be losing and at what rate, and also find out how to make sure you're maintaining good muscle mass—you want your dog to lose fat, not muscle. Your vet can scan for medical causes that may be behind weight gain too:. No doubt about it, an overweight or obese dog is bound for health problems— these are the most researched and widely accepted :.

There's some newer research on the horizon too. Of course, certain genes may also be a factor predisposing to obesity," Shmalberg says. There's also emerging research on how excess weight may influence the microbiome, or bacteria in the gut, and vice versa. A recent study showed significant differences in bacterial populations in obese versus normal dogs. An obese puppy may face even more detrimental effects.

Extra weight can put a strain on a young dog's growing skeletal frame and impact growth hormones, which can lead to increased inflammation. And although research is still in progress, it's thought, too, that obesity at an early age has long-term effects on a dog's metabolism, so that she may be more likely to stay overweight as she ages and therefore be predisposed to all the health problems above.

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A lower metabolism during the critical period of puppyhood may also make it harder for the dog to lose weight down the road. The most critical factor in any dog weight-loss plan is diet—and both the type of food and the amount matter. Exercise is always encouraged, but exercise alone is usually insufficient for substantial weight loss. What's really important to remember is that weight loss needs to be a family or household affair. It takes dedication and commitment from every one of your dog's guardians to ensure he stays on track and that stray treats don't slip into the mix. If you're ready to learn how to put a dog on a diet, you've come to the right place. Here's how to help your dog lose weight, step by step. Once your vet vet confirms that your furry friend needs to slim down, it's time to put your overweight dog diet plan into action.

Here are 10 steps to get you there:. Dietary protein : If your dog is overweight, you want her to lose fat while preserving muscle mass. Protein is critical to the maintenance and growth of skeletal muscle, which is key for mobility. Studies have found that increased dietary protein may help preserve muscle tissue in dogs on weight-loss plans. As for how much protein, clinical studies suggest that 75 grams per 1, calories of food is the minimal amount needed to preserve lean body mass—but even more may be beneficial. Check out our calculator here to learn more.

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More essential vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids : The whole purpose of a weight-loss dog food is that you can restrict the number of calories. That had given them an unfair advantage; but now that it was off, he would show them. They would never get another rope around his neck. Upon that he was resolved. For two days and nights he neither ate nor drank, and during those two days and nights of torment, he accumulated a fund of wrath that boded ill for whoever first fell foul of him. His eyes turned bloodshot, and he was metamorphosed into a raging fiend. So changed was he that the Judge himself would not have recognized him; and the express messengers breathed with relief when they bundled him off the train at Seattle.

Four men gingerly carried the crate from the wagon into a small, high-walled back yard. A stout man, with a red sweater that sagged generously at the neck, came out and signed the book for the driver. That was the man, Buck divined, the next tormentor, and he hurled himself savagely against the bars. The man smiled grimly, and brought a hatchet and a club. There was an instantaneous scattering of the four men who had carried it in, and from safe perches on top the wall they prepared to watch the performance.

Buck rushed at the splintering wood, sinking his teeth into it, surging and wrestling with it. Wherever the hatchet fell on the outside, he was there on the inside, snarling and growling, as furiously anxious to get out as the man in the red sweater was calmly intent on getting him out. At the same time he dropped the hatchet and shifted the club to his right hand.

And Buck was truly a red-eyed devil, as he drew himself together for the spring, hair bristling, mouth foaming, a mad glitter in his bloodshot eyes. Straight at the man he launched his one hundred and forty pounds of fury, surcharged with the pent passion of two days and nights. In mid-air, just as his jaws were about to close on the man, he received a shock that checked his body and brought his teeth together with an agonizing clip.

He whirled over, fetching the ground on his back and side.