NOTE: All content provided on the Shetland Sheepdog Placement Services of New Jersey website is meant for educational purposes only and should never be used to replace professional veterinary care from a licensed veterinarian regarding the health care and medical issues that may affect your animal companions. This site and its services do not constitute the practice of any veterinary medical health care advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Obesity-related Health Problems
An overweight dog that eats a diet high in fat is subject to a host of health problems, says Linda P. Case, M.S., companion-animal nutritionist at the University of Illinois in Urbana, Illinois. “The quality of life of an obese dog is compromised,” says Case.
Risks associated with dog obesity
Congestive heart failure
Congestive heart failure is more prevalent in obese dogs than in their leaner counterparts. But the problems go much farther than potential heart disease. The excess weight that an obese dog is forced to carry around can also cause exercise intolerance, not to mention heat intolerance, which can be even more critical in a coated breed such as a Sheltie.
High risk during surgery
Studies indicate that an obese dog may be at a higher surgical risk, too. There’s a lot more tissue in the obese dog and fatty tissue is highly vascular, so there can be more bleeding in surgery. Obese dogs are a higher anesthesia risk and experience a higher rate of death following surgery.
Diabetes and Bladder Cancer
Obesity at an early age (12 months) appears to be a significant risk factor for the development of mammary tumors as the dog ages. Obesity at any stage of life increases a dog’s chances of developing bladder cancer.
Even a short period of obesity can be harmful. A recent study suggests that already in the early stages of obesity, excess weight causes detrimental changes to the function and structure of the kidneys.
Orthopedic disorders can include herniated intervertebral disks and ruptured cranial cruciate ligaments. Arthritis, which is not uncommon in aging Shelties, is exacerbated with every excess pound. If the Sheltie suffers from any musculoskeletal problems, the extra weight may cause the dog to suffer more pain than a lighter dog.
Skin and immunity problems
Obese dogs reportedly are more likely to suffer from skin problems and may suffer from weakened immune systems.
Are you convinced now? Although we are a culture that often reaches to food to show nurturing and love, overfeeding your Shetland Sheepdog could literally be “killing it with kindness.”
Above was adapted from an article by Joan Hustace Walker