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Dogs love to eat and we love to feed them. Not always a good combination, but forever an enjoyable one for both parties. Every treat is like the first and best thing that has ever happened to them, and it never grows old no matter how many treats they consume. Unfortunately too many treats, too much food, too little exercise will move your dog toward obesity.

Overweight dogs are at increased risk of many types of cancer, diabetes mellitus, heart disease and hypertension. They are also more prone to osteoarthritis and faster degeneration of affected joints. Obesity is a major problem among dogs according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention. In 2018, 56% of dogs in the United States were overweight. Most at risk were middle-aged dogs between five and ten years old, but obesity can occur at any age. Offering high calorie foods, frequent treats and table scraps can worsen the condition.

Overfeeding is the most predominate cause. Just like us, if they take in more calories than they burn it goes to fat. Middle-aged and older dogs will naturally become less active, and so the inactivity contributes to the weight gain.

If you dog suffers from obesity, you can take these steps to help make him healthier and happier. Focus on slow weight loss that is sustainable. Decrease intake and increase activity. There are several weight loss foods available, which are typically high in protein and fiber but low in fat. Ask your vet or a professional which brand is best for your dog. Before starting any new diet or exercise routine make sure your dog is healthy. Arthritis can cause a reluctance to exercise, and other health issues might be causing your dog to decrease his activity. Once you have made sure your dog is healthy, pick up that leash and go for a walk. Go to the dog park and let him run. Throw a ball for him, play tag, whatever you and your dog enjoy. The more weight he loses the more active he should become, and the happier you both will be.