The reason for this is simple – the less weight your dog is carrying around, the less weight on the injured joint.
Veterinarians once believed that cruciate ligament injuries in dogs were of a similar nature to those in humans – that they were related to some type of trauma, misstep or isolated injury. However, a recent study published in J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2008 Jun 15;232(12):1818-24 called “Prevalence of and risk factors for hip dysplasia and cranial cruciate ligament deficiency in dogs.” yielded results suggesting, “sex, age, and breed were risk factors for HD (Hip Dysplasia), CCLD (Cranial Cruciate Ligament Disease)”.
What does this have to do with weight? Nothing specifically, other than demonstrating the fact that cruciate ligament injuries in dogs are not one-off, traumatic events with no underlying cause. The study points to the fact that there are most likely a number of underlying causes related to the development of cruciate ligament injury and disease. It would make sense than that an overweight pet, due to the fact they’re placing more strain on the joint on a day-to-day basis, would have an increased likelihood of developing an injury.
An added bonus of keeping your dog’s weight down is that it may help them to live longer!
Stand over your dog and view their back. What you want to see is a nice curve to mark where the waist is. A straight line or bowed out line indicates your pet is carrying extra weight.
View your dog from the side. What you’ll want to see is a nice tuck in the area separating the ribs from the hind legs. Straight lines or sagging in this area most likely means your pet could stand to lose a few pounds.
Feel your dog’s rib cage. You should be able to feel the ribs without pressing hard, and it should be smooth. If you are unable to feel the ribs or have difficulty sliding your hand over their rib cage you may need to take a closer look at their weight.
Look at your dog’s face. Depending on the breed, visible folds of skin around the face or a round face could be an indication that your dog is overweight.
Finally, examine your dog’s tail. At the base of the tail it should be smooth and trim – if there are extra folds or fat deposits your pet may be heavy.
The easiest way to keep your dog fit is to make sure he/she does not get out of shape in the first place. Exercise is a major key to overall health for both you and your pet. Make exercising with your dog a part of your daily routine – whether that means taking a walk around the block or playing frisbee until sunset – pick an activity that is enjoyable for both you and your best friend.
Feed your dog smaller meals throughout the day rather than one large portion – this will help to promote satiety and make them feel as though they are getting more.
Use smaller portions, especially for treats. Most likely your dog will not notice that the treat you’re giving them is half the size, they’ll just be excited they are getting a treat!
The best choice for a supplement is going to be something that your dog enjoys the taste of and is tailored to his/her specific health needs. Your veterinarian can work with you to help determine which areas of your pet’s health may benefit most from supplementation.
When choosing a supplement for your dog you should consider the following:
- Where are the ingredients sourced from? Are they medical grade/high quality?
- Has this product been proven to be safe?
- Is there proof of this product’s effectiveness?
- Can I afford to continue using this product on a monthly basis?
- Is there a money back guarantee?
- Is the product made by or recommended by a Veterinarian?
- Does the product come in a form that my pet will take it? (i.e. pills, liquid, powder)