Updated:ORLANDO, Fla. —
We are learning more about the growing problem of obesity in dogs with our 9 Family Connection series Baylor’s Boot Camp.
We've told you how Channel 9's Vanessa Welch's 4-year-old chocolate lab, Baylor, needs to lose weight. Before Baylor started
boot camp, Vanessa had him checked out by a vet at the SPCA, and for the first time she understood how dangerous it is for a pet to be overweight and how it takes years off their lives.
Baylor wasn’t happy to see the vet, but Vanessa knew he had to get a health checkup before her family put him through boot camp.
"One of the key things we wanted to know was how much he weighs," said Welch
He ended up being
87 pounds when he should only be about 75.
While Baylor doesn’t look overweight, Dr.
Rebecca Rhoades said Baylor has a good inch of fat along his rib cage. If he doesn’t lose weight, he faces joint problems, arthritis, diabetes and maybe even cancer.
Rhoades said overweight dogs lose two to three years off their lifespan if they don’t get the weight off.
Rhoades checked Baylor’s blood for thyroid issues and took X-rays to check his hips and joints. She then cleared him for boot camp.
Next stop: Barking Dog Fitness at Rocky’s Retreat.
A team of pet experts put together Baylor's fitness plan, including interval runs on the dog treadmill and swimming in a heated, ozone-treated, indoor pool
, -- the only one of its kind for dogs in Florida.
Baylor got a chance to try out the water with a few laps during his first visit, but just those few laps exhausted him.
Barking Dog Fitness co-owner Sherry Capabianca said over the next several weeks, you're going to see Baylor swim longer with less fatigue and more endurance.
“You are going to have your puppy back again, and your kids are going to have a puppy to play with
,. I think it’s going to change your life," she said.