Obesity is not just an issue for humans- it can also be a problem for canines. To prevent consequences that require drastic measures, dog owners should take the weight of their pet seriously. Prior to traveling, canine owners should get their dogs in shape for plane rides and stays at dog friendly hotels. Healthier dogs are better travelers, creating a more pleasant experience for the owner and the pet.
Statistics vary by country, but a general estimate is that 20 to 35 percent of dogs are overweight. Up to ten percent of domestic dogs may be overweight enough to be classified as obese. The average life expectancy of an obese dog is shortened by at least 15 percent. Issues resulting from canine obesity include heart disease, diabetes, and joint and bone damage. Getting the canine into shape requires diligence on the part of its owner.
Keeping the dog healthy helps travelers in many ways. Pets that weigh less have a greater chance of traveling in the plane cabin with their owners. A small breed dog that is under 18 inches long and weighs about 11 to 15 pounds can travel in the cabin, while an obese dog of the same breed may not meet the weight requirement for plane cabin travel. Dog owners who want to keep their pets nearby should consider this before feeding a pooch too much “people food.”
Obese pets are afflicted with many problems, some of which can affect travel. Joint damage may make it difficult to get the pet in and out of the hotel room and digestive issues can cause messes on the floor. Obese dogs with diabetes will require more attention while traveling because some need insulin shots. Coat and skin issues may necessitate that the dog be bathed during travel, something that can be quite inconvenient if a grooming facility is not nearby and the hotel bathtub is tiny.
Since dogs do not have sweat glands, they regulate their body temperature by panting. It becomes more difficult for an overweight dog to regulate its body temperature, resulting in heavy panting. This causes anxiety and stress, which can lead to other issues including heat stroke. When a dog is in a stressful situation, it tends to pant more, worsening the issue.
Healthy dogs have increased stamina and are better able to tolerate various weather conditions due to their improved ability to breathe. They are more equipped to handle travel and a stay in a new environment that may feature temperatures very different from those at home. Once the pet arrives at the destination, it will be ready to explore, not ready for a nap.
Dog friendly hotels may have activities for canines but only those dogs that are healthy will enjoy them. The dog will be prepared to play, run, swim, and explore with its owner. This makes the vacation an enjoyable, not stressful or tiring, experience for dog and owner. Upon arriving home, the dog will be ready for the next adventure.