Diet and exercise prevents diabetes in dogs too: Canine obesity is on the rise, along with all the related health problems
03/08/2018 // Jessica Dolores // Views

Research shows that overweight and obese dogs suffer from a host of health problems like musculoskeletal disorders, cardiovascular diseases, glucose intolerance, diabetes, and bladder and mammary cancer. A high-fat diet, which leads to excess weight and obesity, was also linked to canine pancreatitis, which is characterized by appetite loss and vomiting.

Science has shown that fat produces hormones that cause inflammation and creates stress on body tissue. It is now widely acknowledged that heavy dogs have shorter lives than their leaner counterparts. In fact, slightly overweight Labrador retrievers were found to live two years shorter than those didn't suffer from this problem.

How do you know if your pet dog is overweight or not?

The key is his body weight. Dogs that weigh 10 to 20 percent above their ideal body weight are yes, overweight. Obese dogs are those who weigh 20 percent more than their ideal weight.

Study on diabetes

A study conducted by the Agricultural University of Tirana, Tirana, Albania on 2,921 dogs from five clinics in Tirana City from 2013 to 2015 found a link between excess weight and diabetes.

Various dog breeds were tested and analysed for blood glucose. Six of the 10 diabetic dogs were overweight and obese. Some dogs that ate processed foods were more likely to be obese. Those that consumed home food also tended to be overweight.

Meanwhile, diabetic dogs that lost weight responded more to treatment. They're the ones that benefited most from carnitine, a naturally-occurring amino acid that provides energy and plays a key role in the metabolism of fatty acids.


Owners of diabetic dogs are encouraged to feed their pets a diet which consists mostly of complex carbohydrates and a lot of starch and fiber. Deaths from cardiovascular disease can be lowered by reducing plasma cholesterol. This is because diabetic dogs suffer from reduced ability to metabolize nutrients in their gastrointestinal tract. They lose glucose when they pass of urine and therefore need more care than their healthier counterparts. (Related: Top 10 ways to prevent your pets from getting cancer and dying young.)

Exercise is a must

Exercise is just as essential. It improves not just your pet's physical, but mental health as well. It lowers unwanted behaviors like restlessness borne out of sheer boredom and/or anxiety.

The question of just how much exercise your pooch needs depends on his or her age, breed, health and environment.

Puppies have boundless energy and require the shortest amount of exercise. They play, run, jump and skip a lot. Five to 10 minutes a day is enough for them.

Adult dogs need 60 to 90 minutes of running, hiking, playing and other forms of exercise a day.

Senior ones tire easily because of arthritis and age. But this doesn't mean your furry friend needs less exercise. Go give him or her 3o to 60 minutes of activity each day to limber up and get that blood circulating. Your senior dog may not move as fast as he or she used to, but the pet still needs to rise, get sunshine and stretch those good old muscles. Having a younger dog around is also a big help. The younger one can play with his or her senior friend, and they can have fun while exercising together.

Let's not forget mental health as well. Establishing eye contact with your pooch keeps him mentally alert and cements the bond between the two of you.

Let's take care of our doggie friends. They help us enjoy life more by reducing stress. Their unconditional love gives us so much joy, and are known to lengthen their owners' lives. Read for more.

We owe them so much.

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