By Amber Kingsley, Sheltie Nation Contributing Writer
As pet owners, we always want what’s best for our four-legged friends, but sometimes being too generous with food and treats is literally killing our canines with this type of excessive kindness. In a recent post, we highlighted the story of a six-year old Sheltie named Shannon who was well-loved, but overly fed by her elderly owners to the point of being extremely obese.
Shannon’s overweight condition was so dire upon her surrender that she suffered from paralysis in her hind legs, later blood work revealed a thyroid condition, she had open sores and a skin condition on her under carriage from a buildup of feces and urine that was only revealed after a much-needed haircut.
Thankfully, through loving foster care and generous donations to the GSSR (Granite State Sheltie Rescue) where she was surrendered, this little darling has been slowly losing weight, moving around a little more freely and seems to have a much happier outlook towards a longer, healthier lifestyle. Although Shannon still has a long road ahead of her towards a complete recovery, things are looking much brighter for this wonderful dog.
A Sizeable And Ironic Education
One might think for smaller dogs, like a Sheltie, they wouldn’t need as much activity and exercise compared to a much larger dog. But here’s where some dog owners are sorely mistaken, quite literally as a matter of fact.
Technically this particular canine breed known as a Shetland Sheepdog, is categorized and considered as a working class animal. They have been specifically bred over many years to actively control flocks of sheep and herds of cattle. They instinctively need plenty of exercise along with a healthy diet.
Don’t Let Sleeping Dogs Lie
Another common misconception, as highlighted previously, is that bigger dogs will need more exercise compared to smaller canines, but sometimes this isn’t the case. According to Sleep.org, a typical “dog day” consists of about 50% of sleeping, 30% of their time simply spent lying around while awake and 20% being active.
While these statistics point to about four hours of a typical dog’s day spent being active when they’re awake, many pet owners don’t ensure this type of exercise actually takes place. Along with a proper diet, some of these canines need to be prodded into producing more activity in their daily lives in order to stay healthy.
Specific dog activities such as agility training are great ways to keep your Sheltie in great shape. However, going on daily walks, taking trips to the dog park and simply playing with our dogs will provide some of the exercise that’s necessary on a regular level in order to keep them happy and healthy. Along with a properly balanced diet, cutting down on treats and snacks, just like human children, our fur babies will thrive given this type of balance and regular routine.
As always, please check with your veterinarian when it comes to your dog’s daily diet and exercise regiment. There are many factors to consider along with a canine’s breed, their age, current body weight and other items should be carefully weighed (pardon the pun) when making these important lifestyle choices for our beloved pets.