Obesity in dogs is on the rise and poses serious health risks to our canine companions. While your dog may just seems extra comfy to cuddle, they may actually be carrying too much weight around. Here, our Oakland vets explain how you can tell that your dog may be a bit overweight and what you should do about it if they are.
Is my dog overweight?
If you suspect that your canine companion may be overweight, it's likely time to head in to the vet for a checkup. Your vet will weight your pup, performa comprehensive exmaination to determeine your dog's overall health and 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. Which is why it's so important to help your dog maintain a healthy weight throughout their lifetime.
If you are unsure about whether or not a trip to the vet is called-for, here are some signs that may give you a good indicator of whether or not your dog is carrying more weight thant they probably should.
Consider Your Dog's Fitness Level
- Overweight dogs will often pant even when walking slowly and may walk even slower than before (or need more naps from the work of carrying around the extra weight).
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 illustration below).
Checkout Your Pooch's Figure
- Overweight dogs will venerally have no visible waistline and no distinction between their chest and their stomach when viewed from the side. Take a look at 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 either be a cause or a symptom of an underlying condition or illness, so if you think your dog may be overweight it's definitely time to call a vet. If a veterinarian determeines that your canine companion is carrying some extra pounds (and that it isn't caused by an underlying illness), they will recommend a plan included exercises and dietary changes to help your pup get their weight back to a healthy level.
Here are a few things that your vet may 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 the right number of calories to feed your dog at each of their meals as well as provide a prescriptions low-calroie food to help your dog reach a healthier weight. Make sure your dog stays on a schedule of eating at the same time each day and to measure out their meal portions carefully based on their ideal weight for their breed and 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 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 pup starts following a weight loss plan, make sure you're visiting your vet for a follow-up appointment so that your pet's progress can be monitored and their diet canb be adjusted as neccesary/
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.