Hey guys, this is Nikki the lead veterinary technician with Posh Dog Knee Braces. Today, let’s talk about how being overweight can affect our joints. As you know, the more weight we have, the more pressure we put on our joints and internal organs. This can put the body in a state of inflammation, as well as predispose us to many ailments and orthopedic issues. We are making our joints work much harder, which starts a vicious cycle on inactivity. The more the joints are sore, the less your dog will want to walk, which can cause the muscles to atrophy. Pretty soon we have a pup with less muscle, and much more prone to physical injuries like CCL tearing.
Not only does weight gain affect the organs and joints, but it also can shorten life expectancy by quite a bit. Unfortunately, this is not going to be a quick fix situation. It is much easier to get the weight off a younger dog than one that is aging. Prevention is much easier than treatment, especially if your dog is spayed or neutered, which can increase the chances of becoming overweight.
If your dog is in the top weight percentile, and does not yet have any limping issues, it’s time to get serious about weight loss. Things you can do first is check everything that you are feeding your dog every day. I want a list of each and every treat, kibble, and snack. Small things like swapping daily treats for a carrot or sweet potato stick, ect can help, as well as increasing exercise. If you have a dog that does not like to exercise, starting slow is key. Maybe 15 minutes a few times daily will really help. It is important not to skip exercise. Walking and swimming is great.
Second, changing diet is next. If you are feeding a diet that has a lot of carbohydrates, and less protein, it may be time to switch. I like diets with a good quality protein source, not by products. Make sure you are not feeding grocery store foods, unless you absolutely have to. There are many good quality foods out there. If you are already feeding a good quality food, make sure you are not feeding too much.
If you are not sure what to be feeding your dog to help, please consult with your veterinarian, maybe schedule a time to go over the nutritional needs of your dog with your Dr. or a veterinary technician. They may have a specific diet they recommend.
If you have an overweight dog that already has a limp or headed for a CCL tear, but not there yet, then I would strongly suggest finding a physical therapy clinic, one with hydrotherapy. This will help strengthen the leg, and loose weight.