Obesity rates in dogs are increasing. This has a negative impact on their overall health and wellbeing. In this article the Tracy vets discuss the signs that could indicate your dog is overweight, and how you can assist in getting their weight down to a healthy level.
Should I Worry if My Dog is Overweight?
The first thing you should do if you think your dog is overweight is to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. When a dog has extra pounds on them it could be a sign of an underlying health issue or could contribute to other health problems such as diabetes or joint pain.
In order to determine if your dog is over weight your vet will perform a comprehensive examination and weigh them on a scale. After the exam your vet will inform you if your pup is overweight, taking their breed and physical build into consideration.
Is my dog overweight?
If you don't know if you should take your dog to the vet there is a variety of ways you can tell if they are overweight at home.
Feel Your Dog's Ribs
If your dog is overweight you will not be able to feel their ribs because the fat would be obstructing them. Normally you should be able to feel your pup's ribs which would be similar to the back of your hand.
Look For Their Waist
An overweight dog will usually not have a visible waistline with no distinction between their stomach and chest when looking at them from above or the side.
Monitor Your Dog's Endurance & Energy
Lower fitness and energy levels are often seen in dogs that are overweight. You might see them panting or notice them walking slower than normal for dogs of their breed, size and age. They may also sleep more than usual.
Check Out The Overweight Dog Chart
Following is a visual displaying the different weight categories for dogs. This chart should give you a visual understanding of how dogs look when they are below, normal and over weight.
Why is My Dog Overweight?
There could be many explanations for why your dog is over weight, here is a list of the most common reasons why your canine companion could be experiencing this condition:
- Taking in more calories then they can burn through physical exercise
- Decrease in their ability to exercise due to the effects of aging such as arthritis or other conditions
- Eating too many treats, table scraps or other high calorie foods
What should I do if my dog is overweight?
When your dog gains weight unexpectedly it could be an indicator of a serious illness. If you believe your dog is overweight it is important that you take them to the vet.
If your vet comes to the conclusion that there is no underlying illness contributing to your dog's weight gain they will develop a plan to get them back on track including a prescribed diet and exercise regime.
Here is a list things your veterinarian might recommend to help your furry friend lose weight.
A strict exercise routine with your dog includes daily outdoor playtime and two walks a day. Playing games like frisbee and fetch with your pup could even help you form a closer bond with your dog while having fun and burning calories.
Modified Feeding & Diet
Your vet is able to calculate the right amount of calories to feed your dog at every meal. If they feel it is necessary they might also prescribe a low-calorie diet food for your pet.
Many vets will also suggest that you have your dog eat at the same times everyday when they have to stick to a weight-loss plan. And they may also have you carefully measure the portions you feed them, following what is noted on the foods packaging based on for your dog's breed and ideal weight.
Going for routine checkups once or twice a year provides your vet with the chance to examine your dog's weight, over all health and look for any early signs of illnesses before they can become serious.
If your pooch is on a weight loss plan, book follow-up appointments with your vet so they can monitor your dog's progress and make any needed dietary adjustments.
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.