Dog obesity is one of the major causes of canine deaths in the world. Initially, the symptoms may not be apparent; but once the dog ages, sudden respiratory and cardiovascular signs develop. Some owners may think that shortness of breath and difficulty in walking and running are only temporary conditions; but once a veterinarian is consulted, all health issues point to being overweight. Spoiling our dogs is something difficult to avoid – especially with their gorgeous pleading eyes waiting for a treat at the table. However, no matter how furry and irresistibly cute our Shih Tzu can be, it is still important to maintain their appetite and train them on their meal intake.
Shih Tzu are prone to obesity because these dogs are generally not as active as sporting dogs. They are small dogs which owners usually carry around. They only have the house to run around and this is just their exercise. Given this type of personality where energy is rarely exhausted, they are prone to weight increase. Furthermore, this breed is also prone to hypothyroidism – a medical condition where the thyroid fails to produce enough T4 hormones to support normal metabolic functions. Obesity and lethargy are the primary consequences of this disease. The best way to diagnose this disease is to consult your vet and give your pet a run through hormone analysis.
To avoid obesity, determine the calorie intake of your dog. Read the labels of dog food and compare their ingredients with other dog food brands. Also, stop giving too much treats out of your dog’s whim. Exercise and train your dog to work for the treat. You can also substitute carrots, celery, broccoli or asparagus as treats. You must also take caution in buying low calorie dog food. These have high carbohydrate load which lead to increased insulin production and eventually causes increased fat production. Do not give in to begging because remember that too much kindness to your dog can kill. You wouldn’t want your Shih Tzu to belong to the 50% of obese dogs in the USA which are at risk.
And of course, exercise, exercise and exercise. Do not ever underestimate the power of working out, training and fitness regimen.