Obesity in dogs is becoming increasingly common and having a negative impact on the overall health of our furry friends. In this post our Collingwood vets describe signs that can indicate your dog may be overweight, and what you can do to help get your dog back to a healthier size.
Does it matter if my dog carries a little extra weight?
If you think that your dog may be overweight, the very first thing to do is to make an appointment with your vet. Carrying extra weight can be a sign of an underlying health issue, and can also be a major contributing factor to many health issues in dogs including diabetes and joint pain.
When you take your pooch in for an examination your vet will weigh your canine companion, do a comprehensive physical examination to determine your pup's overall health, then let you know if your dog is overweight based on their build and breed standards.
Do you have an overweight dog?
When it comes to your pet's health it's always best to have unexplained weight changes checked out by your vet. If you are unsure as to whether taking your pup to the vet is worth it, check out the points below to learn whether your dog may be overweight.
Monitor Your Pup's Energy LevelReduced fitness and energy levels are common in overweight dogs. 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 spends a lot of time sleeping.
Feel For Your Dog's RibsProvided that your dog isn't carrying extra weight 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 a Wider Chest & Distinct Tuck-UpLooking from directly above your dog you should notice that your pup's chest is notably wider than their abdomen, and from the side you should be able to see a tuck-up from their chest to stomach.
Spot Your Pup's WaistA dog that is overweight will generally have no real waistline and no distinction between their chest and stomach when viewed from the side or from above.
Check Out The Overweight Dog ChartBelow is an illustration of dogs that fall into different weight categories. Look over this overweight dog chart to 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.
If my dog is overweight, what should I do?
Unexplained weight gain can be a sign of a serious health issue. If you think that your dog is overweight a trip to the vet is an important first step.
If your vet determines that your pooch is carrying extra weight and there are no underlying illnesses causing the excess weight, your vet will prescribe a diet and exercise plan to help get your pup back down to a healthier size.
Here are some things your vet may suggest to help your pup lose weight.
Vigorous Walks Twice DailyIt's important to follow a strict schedule of regular exercise for your pup, including two brisk walks every day and some daily outdoor playtime. Playing fetch or frisbee can help you and your dog form a closer bond as well as provide your pet with a fun way to burn some extra calories.
Diet & Feeding ScheduleYour vet will be 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. Many vets recommend that dogs eat at the same time every day when following a weight loss plan, and dog owners should carefully measure out portions based on their vet's recommendations - or the amount stated on the food packaging for their dog's breed and ideal weight.
Routine Wellness ExamsAnnual or twice-yearly wellness exams combined with regular preventive care give your vet the opportunity to examine your pooch for early signs of illness - before conditions become serious - and monitor your pet's weight and overall health.
If your pup 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 required.
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.