Obesity in dogs is on the rise and hurts the overall health and well-being of our canine companions. Here, our Des Moines vets share some of the signs that your pooch may be overweight and what you can do to help get your dog's weight back on track.
Why Should I Worry If My Dog Is Overweight?
If you think that your dog may be overweight, the first thing you should do is make an appointment with your vet. Carrying even a little bit of extra weight can be a sign of an underlying health issue and may be a contributing factor to many health issues in dogs including diabetes and joint pain.
Your vet will weigh your dog, do a thorough examination to determine their overall health, then let you know if your pet is overweight based on their build and breed standards.
Is My Dog Overweight?
If you aren't sure whether a trip to the vet is necessary there are some ways to tell if your pooch is overweight.
Feel Your Dog's Ribs
If your dog isn't carrying any extra weight, you should be able to feel its ribs without a thick layer of fat obscuring them. If you're not sure how your pet's ribs should feel, you can compare them to feeling the bones and tendons in the back of your hand.
Look for the Tuck-Up
Looking from directly above your dog you should notice that your pup's chest is more notable than their abdomen, and from the side, you should be able to see a tuck-up from their chest to stomach.
Look For Your Pup's Waist
A dog that is overweight will generally have no real waistline and no distinction between its chest and stomach when viewed from the side or from above.
Monitor Your Dog's Energy & Endurance
Reduced levels of energy and fitness are common in overweight dogs. This means that you may notice your dog panting quicker than normal when walking or walking slower than they should based on their age and their size. You may even notice that your dog spends lots of time sleeping compared to when they were lighter.
Check Out The Overweight Dog Chart
Below is an illustration showing dogs of different weight categories. Look over this overweight dog chart to get a visual understanding of what a dog should look like if they are a healthy weight, and what they might look like if they are overweight.
What Should I Do If My Dog Is Overweight?
Unexplained changes in your dog's weight can be a sign of serious illness, so, if you think your dog is overweight and trip to the vet is an all-important first step to have your companion examined and assessed.
If your veterinarian determines that your canine companion is overweight and no underlying illnesses are causing the weight gain, your vet will prescribe a diet and exercise plan to help get your pup's weight back on track.
Here are some things your vet may suggest to help your pup lose weight.
Follow a strict exercise schedule for your dog, including two walks each day and some daily outdoor playtime. Playing fetch or frisbee can help you and your pet to form a close bond with one another as well as provide your pet with a fun way to burn some extra energy and calories.
Follow a strict exercise schedule for your pup, including two walks every day and some daily outdoor playtime. Playing fetch or frisbee can help you and your pooch form a closer bond as well as provide your pet with a fun way to burn some extra calories.
Modified Diet & Feeding
Your veterinarian can calculate the correct number of calories to feed your dog at each of their meals and will prescribe a low-calorie diet food for your pet if it's determined to be necessary to help with your pet's health.
Many vets recommend that dogs eat at the same time every day when following a weight loss plan, and pet parents should measure out the portions carefully based on their vet's recommendation or the amount stated on the food packaging for their dog's breed and ideal weight.
Annual or twice-yearly wellness exams and regular preventive care allow your vet to examine your pooch for early signs of illness (before conditions become serious) and monitor your pet's weight and overall health.
If your pup is following a weight loss plan, visit your vet for follow-up appointments so that your dog's progress can be monitored and dietary adjustments can be made if they are needed.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.