A study was done by Purina and published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medicine Association in 2002 to find out the effects of excess weight on dogs. This study included 48 Labrador Retrievers divided into two groups, that were followed during their entire lifetime. Group A received 25% more food than Group B. The results were that the dogs in Group A were 25% heavier. At the age of 8 years, radiographs were taken of all dog joints. These showed that Group A (the heavier dogs) had 75% more osteoarthritis than dogs in Group B, and the onset of osteoarthritis was 2.8 years sooner. Also, in Group A, the onset of diabetes and heart disease was 1.8 years sooner and the dogs died 1.8 years sooner than those in Group B.
Weight gain can be the result of many factors; fortunately most of them are curable or manageable. The most common reason of weight gain is over-feeding an inactive dog. As your pet gains more weight, he/she becomes less active. As middle age approaches, lameness problems can begin to make it difficult to move around. In addition, there is a greater likelihood that your dog may develop diabetes, respiratory problems, heart disease or other diseases that can affect weight and activity levels.
If your pet has had surgery, we don’t expect your pet to lose any weight during the first 8 weeks post-op. During this period, our rehabilitation program for your pet is designed solely to decrease pain and increase the joint range of motion. But we don’t want your pet to gain weight either, so it may be necessary to cut his/her portion size by 25% to compensate for lack of activity during confinement. It is important to keep an adequate intake of protein to speed the healing process, so be sure to feed a high-quality diet.