How is host behavior related to obese dogs? Every owner should know this!
Ekaterina Kastritskaya, psychologist, specialist in animal therapy, consultant on animal behavior and well-being
According to statistics, 40% of dogs in Western Europe are obese. In our area, there are no such statistics, but veterinarians share observations that the number of dogs suffering from excess weight is also growing. Dog obesity is often associated with the behavior of the owner. How so?
There are certain breeds whose representatives are a little more likely to gain weight than others:
- Cocker Spaniels.
- Long haired dachshunds.
- Basset Hounds.
Of course, this is not a sentence. A labrador can be slim and active, and a German shepherd dog can be obese. It all depends on the owner.
There are also peculiarities of the owners' thinking and behavior, which become the reason that even a dog not prone to gaining weight starts to suffer from it.
How host behavior is associated with obese dogs
What are these human factors that cause dogs obesity? A study was conducted (Kienzle et all, 1998), which established a relationship between a person’s relationship with a dog and obesity.
- Excessive humanization of the dog contributes to overweight animals. Very often this applies to single owners, for whom the pet is “light in the window”, “the only joy in life”. And what else to please the most beloved creature, if not yummy?
- Low level of activity of the owner, short walks.
- Frequent feedings, while the owner is moved, watching how the pet eats.
- Frequent feed changes that lead to excessive food intake.
- Constantly feeding your pet with goodies. Of course, treating your pet is possible and necessary, but it is important to choose the right treats and take them into account when drawing up your daily diet.
- Ignoring the fact that hunger and begging are not the same thing. By the way, overweight dogs beg more often than dogs in normal condition.
- Being overweight makes some breeds of dogs “prettier” in the eyes of the owners. For example, pugs or French bulldogs are very fond of “a little fattening”, so that they are “chubby”.
- The dog is fed several family members, while not specifying whether she ate already. Or a kind grandmother feeds an "eternally hungry doggie."
- Paradoxically, the owner’s low income is also often the cause of obesity in the dog. There is a hypothesis according to which this is due to the fact that dogs are fed low-quality products, trying to compensate for the quality by quantity, while there is no way to make a balanced full-fledged diet.
Of course, not a single sane owner wants a bad dog and only wants to bring good. However, it is important to remember that excess weight is not at all good, because it can cause many health problems and worsen the quality of life of a pet.