Dogs are cute and cuddly but obesity can affect them and cause serious health concerns. Today, the South Wilton Veterinary Group vets explain how you can tell if your dog might be overweight, and what you should do.
Is My Dog Overweight?
If you believe that your canine companion may be overweight, it is time to go to the vet for a checkup. Your vet will weigh your dog and perform a thorough examination to determine your dog's overall health. They will then let you know if your dog is overweight, based on their breed and build.
Excess weight can cause 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 are unsure whether or not 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
- Overweight dogs often pant even when walking relatively slowly, and may walk slower or need to take more naps than before.
Feel For Your Dog's Ribs
- It is possible to feel your dog's ribs without a thick layer of fat over them if they are a healthy weight. Your dog's chest should be wider than its abdomen, and there should be a noticeable tuck-up from chest to stomach about where its waist should be. (See illustration below)
Check Out the overweight dog chart
- Overweight dogs will generally have no visible waistline or distinction between the chest and stomach when viewed side-on. See the illustration below to get a better idea of how your dog should look from the side.
How Can I Help My Dog Lose Weight?
A trip to the vet is called for if you think that your dog is overweight because weight gain can be a symptom of a serious underlying illness. If your vet finds that your dog is overweight and no underlying illnesses are causing the weight gain, they will recommend a diet and exercise plan to help get your dog's weight back on track.
Here are a few things your vet may recommend to help your four-legged friend lose 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 dog 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 dog 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
- It is important to have routine wellness exams (physical checkups for your dog) even when you are certain that there is nothing wrong with your dog. Annual or twice-yearly wellness visits give your vet the chance to check your pet's weight and spot early signs of illness so that conditions can be treated before they become more serious.
If your dog begins following a weight loss plan, please 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.