If you suspect that your pooch is overweight, the very first thing you should do is to make an appointment with your veterinarian. Carrying extra weight can be a sign of an underlying health issue, and can also be a contributing factor to many health issues in dogs.
Your vet will weigh your pup, examine your dog to determine their overall health, then let you know if your pet is overweight based on their build and breed standards.
How To Tell If Your Dog is Overweight
If you aren't sure whether a trip to the veterinarian is called for there are some ways to tell if your pup is overweight.
Feel Your Dog's Ribs
You should be able to feel your pup's ribs without a thick layer of fat obscuring them. Your pet's ribs should feel somewhat like the back of your hand.
Look for the Tuck-Up
Your dog's chest should be notably wider than their abdomen, and there will be a tuck-up from their chest to stomach.
Look For Your Pup's Waist
A dog that is overweight will generally have no real waistline and no distinction between their chest and stomach when viewed from the side.
Monitor Your Dog's Energy & Endurance
Overweight dogs may also have reduced levels of fitness. This means that you may notice your pup panting when walking, or walking slower than they should need to based on their age and size. You may even notice that your pooch sleeps more than usual.
Check Out The Overweight Dog Chart
Included in this blog is an overweight dog chart so that you can get a visual understanding of what a dog should look like if they are a healthy weight, and what they might look like if they are overweight.
How to Help Your Dog Lose Weight
Remember that unexplained weight gain can be a sign of serious illness, so if you think that your dog is overweight a trip to the vet is called for.
If your veterinarian determines that your canine companion is overweight and there are no underlying illnesses causing the weight gain, your vet will prescribe a diet and exercise plan to help get your pet back on track.
Here are some things your vet may suggest to help your pup lose weight.
Regular ExerciseKeep to a strict exercise schedule for your pup, including two walks every day and some daily outdoor playtime. Playing fetch or frisbee can help you and your pooch form a closer bond as well as provide your pet with a fun way to burn some extra calories.
Modify Diet & FeedingYour veterinarian is able to calculate the correct number of calories to feed your dog at each meal, and prescribe a low-calorie diet food for your pet if they feel it is necessary. It's a good idea to make sure your dog eats at the same time every day, and be sure to measure out the portions carefully based on the ideal weight for their breed and size.
While it may seem unnecessary, annual or twice-yearly wellness exams with your primary care veterinarian can help to keep your dog healthier throughout their lifetime.
Your vet will be able to examine your pup regularly for early signs of illness (before conditions become serious) and monitor your pet's weight and overall health.
If your pooch is following a weight loss plan, visit your vet for follow-up appointments so that your dog's progress can be monitored and dietary adjustments can be made if they are needed.
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.