Our Citrus County vets are seeing more obesity in dogs than ever. If your pup is starting to feel more like a cuddly teddy bear, they might be gaining a bit too much weight. Today our vets explain how you can tell if your dog might be overweight, and what you should do.
Is my dog overweight?
If you have a hunch that your pooch might be overweight, it's time to contact your vet for a physical checkup. They will weight your dog and execute a thorough exam to establish your dog's overall health, then let you know if your dog is overweight based on their breed and build.
Carrying excess weight can be a contributing factor to many serious and painful conditions in dogs. This is why it's so important to help your dog maintain a healthy weight throughout their lifetime.
If you aren't sure whether a trip to the vet is necessary, here are some signs that will give you a good indication of whether or not your dog is carrying extra weight.
Consider Your Dog's Fitness Level
- An overweight dog will often pant even after experiencing very little physical activity and may walk slower and take more frequent naps than they used to.
Feel For Your Pup's Ribs
- If your pooch is a healthy weight you should be able to feel their ribs without a thick layer of fat over them. Your dog's chest should be wider than their abdomen, and there will be a noticeable tuck-up from chest to stomach about where their waist should be (see the chart detailing an overweight dog below).
Checkout Your Pooch's Figure
- Dogs that are overweight will generally have no visible waistline and no distinction between the chest and stomach when viewed side-on. See the illustration below to get a better understanding of how your dog should look from the side.
How can I help my dog lose weight?
Weight gain can sometimes be a symptom of serious hidden conditions, so if you're concerned about your pup's weight, you should definitely bring them to the vet. If your vet confirms that your dog is overweight and not exhibiting any signs of underlying conditions, they will provide recommendations for diet and exercise to get your pup's weight back under control in a safe manner.
Here are a few ideas that your vet recommend to help your four-legged friend shed those extra pounds.
- Keep to a regular exercise schedule for your dog, including going for walks twice a day and playtime outside once a day. Playing fetch or frisbee can help you and your dog to form a closer bond as well as provide your pup with a fun way to burn a few extra calories.
Diet & Feeding
- Your vet will be able to calculate just the right number of calories to feed your dog at each meal and prescribe a low-calorie diet food to help your pup reach a healthier weight. Be sure your dog eats at the same time every day, and that you measure out the portions carefully based on the ideal weight for their breed (or size).
Yearly (or Twice-Yearly) Checkups
- Even when you're sure that there is nothing wrong with your dog, routine wellness exams (physical checkups for your dog) are important. Annual or twice-yearly wellness exams give your vet the opportunity to keep track of your dogs weight and spot the early signs of illness so that conditions can be treated before they become more serious.
If your dog begins following a weight loss plan, visit your vet for follow-up appointments so that your pet's progress can be monitored and dietary adjustments made if necessary
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.