Obesity in Boston Terriers

While it is always tempting to reward that sweet face with a treat, offering too many treats can be highly detrimental to your Boston Terrier’s health. Unfortunately, like people, your Boston is prone to weight gain when his caloric intake exceeds the number of calories he burns off. Obesity has many serious consequences and it is important to keep your Boston Terrier’s weight within a healthy range.

Health Issues

Obesity is one of the most common problems that veterinarian’s see in their daily practice. It can lead to a number of different health issues including respiratory problems, cardiac problems, vascular issues, and exasperate arthritis symptoms. It can also make surgery more complicated and affect recovery times. It can also make your pet more prone to diseases like diabetes that can shorten their lifespan and decrease quality of life.

Where do the Calories Come From?

It is easy to offer treats several times a day without considering how many calories they add to your pet’s diet. Chances are good that regardless of how many treats your Boston eats in a day, you still feed him the same amount of food each day. Whereas you might decrease how much you eat at supper, if you indulge in a big piece of cake during the afternoon, you probably don’t adjust your pet’s intake accordingly.

But it was just a few cookies, right? Cookies add up. The typical dog cookie has 25 to 27 kcal of energy. Fed to a 20 pound dog, that’s the equivalent of an adult human eating two El Keebler Fudge Double-Stuffed Sandwich Cookies (180 kcal). When you start giving your Boston multiple cookies every day it begins to add up.

Many dogs also don’t get as much exercise as they did in the past. Owners have busy lives and everyone works or goes to school during the day and the dog is left to snooze on the couch and amuse himself. When people return home from work they are tired and may not be up to a long walk. While some people make up for this by being very active on the weekends, lots don’t.

Evaluating Your Boston Terrier’s Weight

When you run your hands across your Boston’s sides, you should be able to easily feel his ribs. They shouldn’t stick out but they also should not be hidden under a layer of fat. If you are in doubt, consult your veterinarian.

Losing Weight

Losing weight is as hard for a dog as it is for a person. In the end, the best tools are diet and exercise. You have full control over them and your Boston’s health is in your hands. There are many different low calorie diets on the market that can offer a calorie reduction. You may also simply want to reduce the amount of food you feed your Boston Terrier. If you leave food down all day and let him graze, change it to a system where a set amount of food is offered once or twice daily and the dish is picked up half an hour later.

Instead of choosing commercial treats, which are often high in sugars and fats to make them taste better, offer your Boston chunks of fruit like melon or apple. Fruit tastes good and is low in calories. If the amount of food offered leaves your dog still hungry, try adding some vegetables to the amount of food you give him so he feels fuller.

You should also look at increasing the amount of exercise your Boston Terrier gets. If you aren’t up to increasing your exercise regimen then consider signing him up for doggy daycare or extra walks or hikes a few times a week. If you live in a medium to large city, you can almost guarantee that these services are available if you look for them. You’ll want to ensure that they are safe and understand your pet’s needs but given that, they provide lots of physical and mental stimulation to liven up your dog’s days and get him more active.

Keeping your Boston Terrier at a healthy weight is about loving him. You want him to be with you for many years and you want those years to be healthy and happy. The best way to ensure that is by making sure he is a healthy weight so that you reduce his risk for many of the problems that plague older dogs.

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