Is my dog overweight?
If you suspect that your canine companion might be carrying extra weight, it's advisable to schedule a checkup with your veterinarian. During the visit, your vet will weigh your dog and conduct a comprehensive examination to assess their overall health. Based on their breed and body structure, the veterinarian will determine if your dog is overweight.
Carrying excess weight can contribute to various serious and painful conditions in dogs. Therefore, it is crucial to help your dog maintain a healthy weight throughout their life.
If you're uncertain about the need for a veterinary visit, here are some signs that can help you gauge whether or not your dog is overweight.
Consider Your Dog's Fitness Level
- Overweight dogs often pant even when walking relatively slowly, and may walk slower or need to take more naps than before.
Feel For Your Pup's Ribs
- If your pet 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 illustration 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?
If you notice that your dog has gained weight, it can be indicative of a potentially serious underlying illness. In such cases, it is crucial to consult your veterinarian. They will be able to assess your dog's condition and determine if the weight gain is due to an underlying health issue. If no underlying illness is found, your vet will likely recommend a diet and exercise plan to safely help your pooch achieve a healthy weight.
Here are a few measures that your veterinarian may suggest to assist your canine companion in shedding those extra pounds.
- Continue 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).
- 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 monitor your pet's 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.