The COVID-19 crisis has brought about a wide range of changes for a wide range of individuals. However, it is interesting to note that this impact isn’t limited to humans, as shown by how a lot of dogs are seeing noticeable changes to their weight in this time period. There are no official numbers on the topic. Sure, there are a lot of parties pouring a lot of resources into investigating the effects of the COVID-19 crisis. However, canine-related issues tend not to make the top of the list of priorities even during good times. Never mind when it comes to something as unprecedented in the present. As such, interested individuals will have to make do with anecdotes, which are numerous in number.
In short, people have noticed both cases of dogs gaining weight and cases of dogs losing weight, both of which can be explained by the COVID-19 crisis. For the first, a lot of people have been choosing to spend more time indoors rather than outdoors. To a considerable extent, this is because they have been choosing to minimize the opportunities for them to catch the coronavirus, which is very sensible of them. However, it should also be mentioned that a lot of places chose to shut down their parks as well as other public spaces for the purpose of encouraging their residents to stay home. Theoretically, interested individuals could have made up for this by spending more time playing with their dogs at home, but perhaps unsurprisingly, a lot of them failed to do so. Instead, a lot of them further contributed to the problem by snacking more, with the result that a fair amount of this extra food winded up in the stomachs of their dogs as well. Something that has combined with the lack of exercise to produce pudgier pooches.
Meanwhile, the second can be explained by the COVID-19 crisis as well. Simply put, there are a lot of people out there who have wanted to spend more time with their dogs but haven’t been able to because of their busy schedules. Since the COVID-19 crisis freed up a lot of time, this means that they have been able to spend much more of it with their dogs. Thanks to that, even though outdoor exercise has become more challenging, the increase in indoor exercise has more than managed to make up for it, thus making for a fair number of fitter dogs to go along with their less fit counterparts.
Unfortunately, there is still much that remains unknown about the effect that the COVID-19 crisis has had on the weight of dogs. The relevant information hasn’t been collected, which in turn, means that the relevant information can’t be scrutinized for the answers to a wide range of questions. For instance, some people have wondered whether the place that a dog owner lives is connected with the outcome for their dog. The idea is that dog owners in urban and suburban areas had fewer places that they could go to provide their dogs with physical exercise whereas their rural counterparts had no such issue, meaning that it seems reasonable to speculate that urban and suburban dogs tended to suffer whereas rural dogs tended to benefit. However, a lack of information is a lack of information, meaning that there is no way to tell until someone actually conducts the research at some point in the future.
Why Is This Such a Huge Concern?
Being overweight is bad for dogs for the same reason that it is bad for humans. Essentially, it increases their chances for getting a wide range of serious medical issues such as heart disease, respiratory disease, and high blood pressure. Combined, these issues can cut down a dog’s expected lifespan by a considerable number, so much so that the American Veterinary Medical Association has produced an estimate of more than two years. That might not sound much by human standards because it is normal for those of us in the developed world to live to our 70s and 80s. However, it is important to remember that the average lifespan of a dog is not much more than a decade’s time, meaning that more than two years is a much bigger deal when placed within its proper context.
Besides this, it is worth mentioning that serious medical issues aren’t just problematic because of their effect on expected lifespan. After all, they tend to come with a lot of symptoms that can have a very negative effect on a sufferer’s quality of life. For instance, it is perfectly normal for dogs to suffer from the occasional ache, particularly as they get older and older. Unfortunately, being overweight can increase a dog’s chances of getting arthritis, which can mean much more persistent pains as well as aches. Since arthritis is just one of the serious medical issues that can be brought about by overweightedness, interested individuals should have no problems understanding why it can determine not just how long their dog will live but also how well their dog will live.
What Can Be Done about This?
There are no secrets to maintaining a healthy weight for a dog. Instead, chances are good that interested individuals have already seen all of these recommendations at one point in time or another. For starters, they are going to want to get a rough idea of what a healthy weight means for their particular dog. After all, the healthy weight can be very different for two humans, so it should come as no surprise to learn that the differences can be even bigger for dogs thanks to their different breeds. Suffice to say that what is healthy for a chihuahua isn’t going to be healthy for a Great Dane and vice versa. If interested individuals aren’t sure, they shouldn’t hesitate to check in with a veterinarian, who should have the relevant expertise and experience needed to help out. After that, it is just a matter of making sure that the dog is getting the right amount of food as well as the right amount of exercise. Something that should be manageable even if interested individuals are stuck indoors because there are options (https://www.cesarsway.com/how-to-exercise-your-dog-indoors/) such as setting up obstacle courses, getting them to run up and down stairs, and even just playing games such as fetch with them.