Don’t forget about our canine friends! As America has gotten more and more overweight, our dogs are becoming overweight along with us. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, obesity is the fourth leading cause for canine deaths, and as many as 20 percent of dogs in North America are currently overweight.
Is your dog overweight? Sometimes it’s hard to tell. Don’t be fooled by fluffy dogs. If you stand over your dog and look down, you should be able to see a waistline beyond the ribs. If your dog’s sides are equal from chest to hips, your dog is overweight! If you put your hands on your dog’s sides, you should be able to feel its ribs. If all you can feel is a soft, thick padding, your dog is overweight!
Butters is a three year old Yellow Lab who came to us weighing 142lbs and could hardly walk. He had to lay down in order to eat or wrestle with another dog. Because he had been eating poor quality food, Butters was greasy and also had large patches of missing hair.
The Risks of Obesity in Dogs
An overweight dog carries extra weight on their joints and in addition to making it more difficult for your dog to be active and exercise to stay fit, those extra pounds put them at risk of being injured with ACL tears (Anterior Cruciate Ligament tears caused by twisting on a hind leg). Surgery and rehabilitation for an ACL tear is hard on your dog, can be very costly, and frequently the over compensation on the good knee will cause a tear in the opposite side, too.
- Heart Disease
Fat cells clog arteries and valves in dogs, just as they do in humans. As these vital pathways narrow, the heart has to work harder to keep blood and oxygen flowing, leading to an enlargement of that muscle which makes it less efficient. Left unchecked, heart failure becomes imminent.
- Fatty Liver Disease
Just as in humans, a liver clogged with fat cells is unable to efficiently filter toxins out of the blood stream for elimination. Eventually the liver completely fails to function and death soon follows.
- Skeletal Stress
Carrying excess weight puts undue strain on a dog’s bones and joints. The cartilage in the joints wears thin, leading to bones scraping painfully against bone. Dogs suffering from this malady will move stiffly and slowly, especially after getting up from a nap. Canine Hip Dysplasia, and Arthritis are two of the most prevalent skeletal stress disorders related to canine obesity.
The connection may not seem obvious, but cancer rates increase dramatically for obese dogs.
- Canine Diabetes
Canine diabetes is a serious disease that affects your dog’s ability to metabolize sugar. The pancreas is either unable to produce enough insulin to break down the sugar molecules, or the body is unable to properly use the insulin that is produced. Higher levels of sugar in the bloodstream can feed even the most minor bacterial infections, turning them chronic and life threatening. Studies show that maintaining a healthy weight lessens the effects of diabetes in dogs.
Treatment for Obesity in Dogs
An appropriate portion size and a food that decreases the daily calorie intake of the dog is essential. At OCU Doggie Fat Camp, we feed your dog a diet specific to their needs, in portion sizes that are appropriate for their skeletal structure. We provide low-calorie, high fiber food and treats, and of course, provide a fun routine exercise regimen that gradually gets your dog in shape and allows optimal calorie burning.
Once your dog has reached his or her healthy weight, we provide a lifetime plan for the family so they can maintain their dog at his or her current healthy weight.
Indigo Ranch Doggie Fat Camp
We want your dog to feel good! Reaching an ideal weight will help prevent injuries and help keep your dog healthy and fit. We start by having you take your dog to the vet for a health check-up. Just like in humans who need to lose weight, we want to make sure your dog is in good health before beginning a weight loss plan. Our veterinarian reviews your dog’s health screening prior to inclusion in the program.
During Indigo Doggie Fat Camp, your dog stays with us Monday through Friday, and comes home on the weekend. During the weekend we send home pre-measured food portions and specific instructions so you can keep your dog on their individual plan. The average weight loss program can range from four to eight weeks, depending on how much weight they need to lose.
Doggie Fat Camp Pricing
Four weeks stay, Monday through Friday: $800 plus food
Dogs may need to stay longer depending on level of weight loss needed.
Eight Weeks Stay, Monday through Friday: $1600 plus food
Pre-Weight Loss Program Requirements
Dog owners provide a complete baseline blood and urine screening done by their
veterinarian. The blood screen will be reviewed by our veterinarian to establish your dog’s health prior to weight loss.
Check out this video of Butters about halfway through his stay at Doggie Fat Camp, when he realized he could run and play!
Here’s Butters after four months at Doggie Fat Camp. He now weighs 84lbs and catches air for a tennis ball!
Now, lets look at a good ‘before and after’ of Butters at a healthy weight and now that he’s eating a good quality diet.
He looks like a different dog!! Butters is definitely our own “Biggest Loser”.