Besides hip dysplasia and eye problems, Redbone Coonhounds, like all coonhounds, also have a tendency to suffer from obesity. They are active dogs, needing a good amount of exercise, but they all too easily will adjust to a sedentary lifestyle if their owner does not provide them with activities to vent their energy; if deprived of exercise, they will also develop behavior problems. Also like many hounds, the Redbone has a tendency of overeating if given half the chance and these factors contribute to somewhat of a predisposition for gaining weight in the breed. This may not seem like a life-threatening disease, or as painful as something like entropion (inward turning of the eyelid), but obesity in dogs, as in humans, is not to be taken lightly. Obesity can lead to a variety of medical complications and can even contribute to shortening your dog's life, so measures must be taken to prevent your dog from becoming obese or getting him back to his proper weight.
An overweight Redbone can develop a series of health problems, some quite serious. For example, obese dogs are at an increased risk of developing diabetes mellitus. In fact, in certain cases, excessive weight gain leads to an increase in the release of insulin; when the body requires a greater deal of insulin than it is able to produce, conditions for diabetes mellitus are created. Obese dogs also have a very high tendency for incurring serious complications involving their bones and joints; more weight than can be held up by a dog's natural skeletal and muscular framework can lead to damage of that framework. This is why arthritis is common in overweight dogs. Ligaments can also be torn, leading to bone instability. Some dogs can actually develop painful slipped discs because of excessive weight; a slipped disc can occasionally lead to paralysis.
Increased stress on the heart can occur, which can lead to congestive heart failure. Fat buildup in the chest can also affect the lungs, which are not able to expand, resulting in breathing difficulty. Excessive weight plus a decreased intake of oxygen can lead to a decline in the dog's stamina and endurance. Dogs that are obese also suffer a great deal from heat tolerance, since the extra fat acts as an insulator and impedes proper regulation of body temperature. Proper functioning of the liver can also be impaired, as an excess amount of fat gets stored in this organ. If your dog needs surgery, obesity can increase the risk of cardiac arrest under anesthesia, not to mention render many surgical operations more complex.
Obesity can also lead to digestive disorders, reproductive problems, impaired immunity, increased risk of cancer and problems with the skin and coat. It's obvious that obesity is not just somewhat of an inconvenience; you need to make sure your Redbone does not overeat and that he or she gets plenty of exercise. If you want to give your dog a snack, make it something healthy and low in calories; doing so can save your dog's life.