Your dachshund will be obese or at a healthy weight depending on the same factors that determine their human's BMI: diet, and exercise. In this post, we discuss reasons for obesity in dachshunds and suggest ways to ensure your best friend has a long, happy life filled with walks, games, and time spent in the Great Outdoors alongside you.
Getting the Thumbs Up from Your Vet
It is always a good idea to see your vet if your dachshund has any condition, including obesity. Your vet will be able to rule out other conditions that might be contributing to the problem, including Cushing's disease (in which the adrenal glands produce high levels of glucocorticoids), or thyroid disease. These conditions might be strongly suspected if your dog is active and eats controlled portions, but continues to be obese.
Why is Weight Loss So Important for Your Dachshund?
Carrying excess weight increases the risk of diseases such as heart and/or respiratory disease, diabetes or insulin resistance, liver disease, and premature osteoarthritis. It also increases the likelihood of ruptures and tears of tissues and ligaments, just as it does for humans. Overweight dogs are also less likely to be active, and regular exercise is key for everything from organ to bone and muscle health.
Keeping Your Dachshund Active
Take your dog for a brisk 20-minute walk a day. Try to add a little active playtime off the leash, with games such as fetch or frisbee. Dogs needing to trim down should stick to walking, to prevent muscular and soft tissue injury. Keep your dog moving throughout this exercise session. Now is not a time to allow him to stop and have a sniff, which he can do once he has completed a full 20-minute aerobic exercise session. In essence, this should involve anything that gets his heart working.
Specialist veterinarians such as Dr. Mercola's Karen Becker advise that the ideal weight for dogs to lose weight, is to consume a quality, biologically appropriate food, in controlled portions. They warn against the consumption of 'light' foods which can be bulked up with fiber to increase the sense of satiety, but which can interfere with proper nutrient absorption. The key is being very strict and precise with the portions yo ufeed.
How Much to Feed?
You will need to use a measuring cup and feed only as much as your vet recommends. Usually, you will be instructed to feed slightly less than is required for weight maintenance. This makes sense, since your dog needs to burn more calories than he consumes. Talk to your vet about the type of food being fed as well; opt for one containing high quality protein that is free of fillers and isn't packed with carbohydrates.
It can be devastating to see your dog looking hungry. Diets are always a challenge, for dogs as much as for humans. However, you should strictly aim for weight loss of 1% to 2% of your pooch's body weight per week. Avoid snacks and treats, which can add more calories than you may realise. Always obtain prior approval from your vet and be wary of special 'diet' or 'light' foods, opting instead for approved portions of quality food.
Written by Sally Writes