The obesity rate among dogs is on the rise, and it can negatively affect your pup's health, wellbeing, and quality of life. Today our Lafayette vets talk to you about the ways you can tell your dog is overweight, what could be causing the increase in their size, and how you can help them become healthy again.
Should I Be Concerned If My Dog Is Overweight?
If you think your dog is overweight the first thing you should do is make an appointment with your vet. When a dog is carrying extra weight it can be a sign of an underlying health condition or could contribute to other health issues such as diabetes or joint pain.
To find out if your dog is overweight your veterinarian will conduct a full examination and weigh them on a scale. When the exam is over your vet will let you know if your dog is overweight taking your pup's breed and physical build into consideration.
Is My Dog Overweight?
If you don't know if you should bring your dog to the vet there is a handful of ways you can determine if they are overweight at home.
Feel Your Dog's Ribs
If your dog is overweight you won't able to feel its ribs because the fat would be covering them. Generally, you should be able to feel your dog's ribs which would feel like the back of your hand.
Look For Their Waist
Overweight dogs typically don't have a visible waistline, there would be no distinction between their stomach and chest when looking at them from the side or above.
Monitor Your Dog's Endurance & Energy
You will often see lower energy and fitness in dogs that are overweight. You could see them panting or notice them walking slower than usual for dogs of their size, age, and breed. They might also sleep more often than usual.
Review The Overweight Dog Chart
The visual below displays dogs in different weight categories. You can use this chart to give you a better understanding of how dogs look when they are underweight, normal weight, and overweight.
Why is My Dog Overweight?
There are many reasons why your dog could be overweight, below we have listed the most common reasons why your pup could be holding extra pounds:
- Eating too many table scraps, treats, or other foods high in calories
- A decrease in their ability to exercise due to the effects of aging such as arthritis or other conditions
- Eating more calories than they can burn through physical exercise
What to do if your dog is overweight
When your dog puts on weight unexpectedly it can be a sign of a serious health condition. If you believe your canine companion is overweight it's essential to take them to the vet.
If your vet determines that there are no underlying problems contributing to your dog's weight gain they will establish a plan to get their weight under control which could include a prescribed diet or/and an exercise regime.
Following is a list of things your veterinarian could recommend to help your pooch lose weight.
A strict exercise routine for your dog includes two walks a day and daily outdoor playtime. Playing games such as frisbee or fetch with your dog could even help you form a closer bond with your furry friend while burning calories and having fun.
Modified Feeding & Diet
Your veterinarian can calculate the right amount of calories you should be feeding your dog at every meal. If they feel it is necessary they could also prescribe a low-calorie food diet for your companion.
Often vets will recommend feeding your dog at the same time every day when they have to stay on a weight-loss plan, they might also have you measure the portions you feed them, following the notes on the foods packaging based on your dog's breed and ideal weight.
Bringing your dog to the vet once or twice a year for routine exams will give your vet the opportunity to examine your dog's weight, overall health and look for early signs of illnesses before they can become worse.
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.