Why Eating Right is Important for Your Dog

We all know that it’s important to eat the right things so that we feel good and avoid the health risks associated with being either overweight or malnourished. What we may not know is that it’s just as important that we make the right nutritional choices for our canine companions; otherwise, they can experience health complications.

Health risks for overweight dogs

Most animal lovers have a tendency to want to overfeed their pets. We love them, and we want to make them happy. Nothing makes a dog happier than when you present them with a nice big smelly plate of dog food! However, it’s possible that if you are feeding your dog too much you are actually putting them at risk of health problems

Overweight dogs are at risk of:

● Reduced life span. In golden retrievers, a study showed that slightly overweight dogs lived on average two years less than dogs with a healthy weight.

● Loss of vitality. If your dog is overweight then they will feel sluggish and unhealthy, just like we do. Their overall quality of life is much better if they are kept at a healthy weight and can run around and play like they want to.

● Joint problems. Being overweight puts pressure on the joints in dogs, just as it does in humans. Keeping your dog at a healthy weight will keep their joints in good condition for much longer as they age. 

● Back problems. All dog breeds are at a higher risk of a slipped disc if they are overweight. This risk increases if your dog’s breed is predisposed to having back issues — like miniature dachshunds, for example. If your dog ever ends up needing surgery for a slipped disc, recovery times are much quicker if your dog is a healthy weight too.

● Inflammation. Fat tissue can be a cause of inflammation, which leads to a host of other medical issues. It’s much better addressed before it causes an issue!

● Heart and lung issues. Dogs don’t develop coronary artery disease like humans do; however, being overweight will put pressure on the heart and lungs and makes it much more complicated to attempt any treatment of conditions in these areas.

If you are concerned about your dog’s weight or would like some advice on how to ensure they are eating the right amount, then it’s a really good idea to speak to your vet. They will be able to provide up-to-date information that is specific to your dog’s breed and medical history. If you use a vet like who is focused on routine care, this appointment shouldn’t cost you too much, either.

Signs of malnutrition in dogs

As well as ensuring that your dog doesn’t become overweight, it’s also important to make sure that the food they are eating is of good quality and is providing the nutrition that they need. 

Dogs who are malnourished may exhibit the following symptoms:

● Bad breath
● Hair loss
● Dull coat
● Dandruff
● Body Odor
● Gas
● Unusual Bowel Movements 
● Skin disorders
● Weight loss or gain

The easiest way to ensure that a dog is getting the right nutrients is to feed them food that is formulated to provide them with everything that they need. If you need assistance choosing a good dog food or are concerned your dog may be exhibiting symptoms of malnourishment, again, your vet is a great place to start for advice.

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