Here's a great article that I thought I would pass on...hope you find it interesting! –Kim
The Problem isn't Just for Humans
Most overweight dogs didn't get that way by themselves, but the fault lies with their owners! Few owners realize that the health related problems in dogs are the same as they are in people. While dogs don't suffer from heart attacks like we do, obesity does put a great strain on their cardiovascular systems.
Other internal organs may suffer as well. Obesity promotes pancreatitis among other gastrointestinal disturbances. Overweight dogs seem to suffer from more skin ailments and coat disorders than slimmer dogs. Muscle and joint disorders, including intervonterbal disk disease, occur much more frequently with overweight dogs.
Causes of obesity are numerous, but diet is at the top of the list. Table scraps and "people food" have a much greater effect on a small animal. The wrong kind of dog food can do the same thing. Healthy pet food manufacturers have given us a wide range of brands and formulas geared for different stages of a dog's life. Pet owners can become confused, and many just buy the more common and cheaper name brands, rather than researching the better foods for their companion. The name brands may be cheaper, but there could be serious consequences to poor choices.
As dogs age, their energy requirements drop considerably, and they may require senior-type diets containing high fiber and fewer calories. Growth formula dog foods should only be given to puppies and pregnant or lactating dogs. Overfeeding (even quality food) is another "common cause" you should avoid, no matter how much they beg. Remember, overweight means poor health and shorter life.
The energy requirements will vary with each animal. You should find the ideal weight of your dog from your veterinarian, and then check the label of the dog food you are using. Feed the recommended amount for 3-4 weeks, while checking your dog's weight frequently. If you observe a weight gain, reduce the food amount, if a weight loss, you can increase the amount.
Your pet is counting on you for regular feedings, and it is up to you to provide the right type and the proper amount to keep them healthy. Talk to your Vet to discuss the right kind and amount of food to keep your dog healthy and happy.