Obesity In Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers

Obesity In Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers


Obesity is a growing plight faced by over half of the dog population in America. And alarmingly, many of us don’t even realize our dog may be obese, as the standard look and weight expectations for dogs have shifted over time.

Obesity can exacerbate and cause many health conditions in our pets that lead to drastically shorter lifespans and even death.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling RetrieversOpens in a new tab. have a greater genetic predisposition for obesity as their breed commonly suffers from autoimmune diseases like hypothyroidism that lead to weight gain.

Though Tollers are a notoriously energetic breed that loves to run and play, you will still need to note the causes and symptoms of obesity in dogs to ensure that your pet lives the long life they deserve.

Causes Of Obesity In Tollers And Other Breeds

In an otherwise healthy pet, the most common cause of obesity is overfeeding. Too many calories and not enough exercise will cause your dogOpens in a new tab. to put on weight faster than you may think.

And because carrying excess weight is much more detrimental for dogs than it is for us humans, you’ll want to correct the issue much sooner than later to prevent serious diseases and injury. Here is a list of some of the most common causes of obesity in dogs:

To check your Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers’ health status or their DNA checks, please visit the Embark vet Opens in a new tab.website for all the help you may need.

Causes Of Obesity In Tollers And Other Breeds
  • Hypothyroidism


This cause is especially prevalent in Tollers, who are at greater risk of contracting an autoimmune disease. Opens in a new tab.If left untreated, a thyroid gland that is improperly functioning will lead to the weight gain associated with obesity, among other issues.

  • Surgery


Spaying or neutering your dog puts them at greater risk of weight gain as a loss of sex hormones decreases their energy levels and even changes how hungry they feel.

This surgery is often a tough one to avoid, which is why dog owners are advised to keep a closer eye on their dogs to note any changes in how much they eat and play.

A simple decrease in food amount may be all you need to combat the weight gain aspects of a spay or neuter.

  • Old Age


Dogs between the ages of five and ten are most at risk for obesity as their energy levels decrease with age. Factors like arthritis and osteoporosis also affect mobility, and, consequently, body fat mass.

A diet change may be needed as your dog grows older to mitigate this overabundance of unneeded calories.

  • Too Much Food And Not Enough Exercise

Just like in humans, dogs who eat more calories than they burn will start putting on weight. Overeating is one of the leading causes of obesity, generally caused by leaving food out for your dog to snack on throughout the day or portioning off meals that are too large.

Like humans, the winter months can be difficult for keeping a healthy weight as temperatures drop, making getting a walk-in difficult.

However, taking thirty minutes for exercise (or three ten-minute intervals, if it’s cold) has the potential to save your dog from a life shortened by obesity.

  • Excess Treats And Table Scraps


It can be hard to resist offering some food or treats to your dog, especially with a breed as gorgeous as Tollers. However, these occasional bites can have a huge impact on your dog’s overall health, especially when it comes to obesity and weight gain.

You can cut out a chunk of calories by offering healthier treats, like peas and veggies, in favor of high-calorie treats and human scraps.

It likely won’t take long to notice a difference in your dog’s appearance, and they’ll surely notice the change in their health.

Symptoms of Obesity In Dogs

There are a couple of tests you can perform at home to determine if your dog may be overweight or obese.

If you run your hand along their sides, you should be able to feel each rib under your fingers. Another test to try is noting how your dog is shaped when you look down at them from above.

Their body should form an hourglass shape, thinning before their hips. If you see little to no waistline, it may be time to look into weight loss options. Here are some other symptoms of obesity:

Symptoms of Obesity In Dogs
  • Unwilling or Unable To Exercise

Contrary to their nature, Tollers who are obese or nearing it will have very little desire to run and play. This may be because of the difficulty excess weight creates when walking and running, or it may stem from a state of depression caused by poor health.

In either case, you will likely be able to notice this symptom soon after it begins, which will hopefully allow treatment to begin just as quickly.

  • Wide or Nonexistent Waistline


If your dog is starting to resemble a sausage, they’re carrying too much weight. Like most humans, dogs have a natural curvature beginning at the end of their rib cage and stopping at the top of their hips.

At a healthy weight, they will have a slight concave curve on either side of their body. An obese dog will not have this curve, rather, they may look more spherical–like a sausage.

  • Ribs Cannot Be Felt


Running your hand along your Toller’s side should feel a bit bumpy to the touch. If you are unable to feel the ridges of their ribs without squeezing or pressing, your dog is likely overweight and potentially obese. Note that you should not be able to see their ribs and spine, but rather feel them upon gentle inspection.

  • Sagging Stomach

A healthy pup will have a flat stomach, neither dropping down nor sucking up. Excess weight will cause their stomach to droop and hang, just like fat does on our bodies.

You may notice their stomach even looks bloated in cases of more severe obesity. Whether you see flabby fat or a rounder collection of it on their abdomen, this physical aspect works well to clue in owners on their dog’s fat mass.

  • Lethargy

Similar to an unwillingness to exercise, lethargy may confine your dog to their bed for longer periods than either of you are used to.

A lethargic dog will sleep and lounge for a majority of the day, only leaving their place and state of rest to eat and use the restroom.

  • Breathing Problems

One of the more severe symptoms of obesity is difficulty breathing. As fat builds within the body, airways and lung expansion can become compromised by pressure from the excess tissue.

Your dog may tire out faster if they are obese, leading to gasping breaths that can take longer to subside.

  • Lack of Grooming


Dogs will slack in their grooming practices if they are lethargic or simply cannot reach the area anymore if weight gain becomes severe.

Typical hygiene practices include paw and body licking, which may increase around periods of menstruation. Dogs will also lick their private areas to keep them clean, which they may not be able to do once fat builds around the neck and lower body.

How To Treat Obesity In Dogs

Obesity has a drastic negative effect on your Toller’s overall health and their life span. Because of the skewed idea, many pet owners have of how obesity looks, most cases of obesity do not inspire treatment until it is too late.

The effects of obesity get increasingly hard to reverse as dog’s age and experience more health problemsOpens in a new tab., like cancer and arthritis. Taking steps to prevent obesity in its beginning stages or before it even starts can save your dog’s life and health.

How To Treat Obesity In Dogs
  • Gradual Diet Change

It’s not recommended to embark on a complete diet change unless your vet gives the go-ahead. Start swapping out calorie-high kibble for lean proteins, like chicken, and vegetables until your dog is only eating these items.

A diet free of processed foods and useless nutrients will help lower weight and increase your dog’s overall health.

  • Exercise

Like humans do when we gain a few unwanted pounds, dogs also stand to benefit from regular exercise. A thirty-minute walk will increase your Toller’s stamina and resilience to exercise, making them healthier, fitter, and more likely to enjoy it.

Exercise also makes a big impact in a relatively short amount of time, especially for dogs who are accustomed to no daily exercise. Swimming is a great form of exercise for dogs who may experience joint pain or stiffness when walkingOpens in a new tab..

  • Eliminate Treats And Table Scraps

Resist handing out unhealthy treats and snacks, especially if they come from your dinner table. Processed human food is especially risky for dogs, whose bodies aren’t meant to digest and process the same foods we can. Swap out dog treats for small pieces of vegetables or chicken and your Toller will thank you.

  • Check What Weight Is Healthiest


Checking with a vet to see what weight your specific dog should be at will help you determine the proper diet plan and the extremity of it, if needed.

Doing this will also help you realize what the true healthy weight for your dog is, better than any internet sources that are not designed to be fully accurate on an individual basis.

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