Most Americans are aware that our nation faces an obesity crisis. However, humans are not the only ones who have gained too much weight. Steven Leshem, DVM, and other veterinary surgeons often treat obese dogs. Canine obesity can aggravate or cause orthopedic problems, shorten life spans, and make necessary surgeries more dangerous for the dog. Pet owners who have obese dogs should consult with a qualified veterinarian like Steven Leshem, DVM, in order to create diet and exercise programs for their animals. Just like people, pets need to get up, get moving, and cut back on empty calories and treats.

However, Steve Leshem, DVM, and other veterinarians caution dog lovers that age, health issues, and climate can impact their dogs’ exercise programs. Older dogs weary easily and cannot handle long periods of strenuous exercise. Their owners should watch for signs of fatigue, including lagging behind, panting, and limping. If your dogs become exhausted, cut the exercise session short in order to give them time to recuperate. Puppies also need special care. Overly strenuous exercise can damage their skeletons. Pet lovers should consult the vet about age-related limitations. Dogs with severe orthopedic issues may need to swim rather than walk to lose weight. Finally, different breeds have different levels of tolerance for heat and cold. Pet owners should make sure that their pets are properly prepared for the local climate before they set out on a walk.