Seeing your dog every day can mean that you fail to notice when your pup starts putting on weight, but carrying just a few extra pounds can affect your dog's health and longevity. Here our PetVet Care Centers member vets share some ways to tell if your dog may be overweight, and what you should do.
Is my dog overweight?
If you suspect your dog is overweight the first thing to do is to visit your vet. Your veterinarian will weigh your pooch, perform a thorough examination to determine your pup's overall health, then let you know if your dog is overweight based on their build and breed standards.
Obesity can be a contributing factor to many serious and painful conditions in dogs. That's why it's so important to help your dog maintain a healthy weight.
Not sure whether a trip to the vet is called for? Here are some signs that will give you a good indication of whether or not your dog is carrying extra weight.
When your dog is a healthy weight you should be able to feel their ribs without a thick layer of fat covering them. Your dog's chest should be wider than their abdomen, and there will be a noticeable tuck-up from chest to stomach about where their waist should be.
A dog that is overweight will generally have no visible waistline and no distinction between the chest and stomach when viewed from the side. Overweight dogs often pant even when casually walking, and may walk slower than before or need to take more naps than usual.
How can I help my dog lose weight?
Weight gain can be a sign of serious illness, so if you think that your dog is overweight a trip to the vet is essential. If your vet determines that your pooch is overweight and there are no underlying illnesses causing the weight gain, they will prescribe a diet and exercise plan to help get your pup back on track.
Here are a few things you can do to help your canine companion shed those extra pounds.
Regular ExerciseKeep to a strict 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 form a closer bond as well as provide your pup with a fun way to burn calories.
Diet & FeedingYour vet can calculate the right number of calories to feed your dog at each meal, and prescribe a low calorie diet food for your pup. Make sure your pet 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) Wellness Checks
Even when you're sure that there is nothing wrong with your pup, take your dog to the vet every year for a routine wellness exam. Annual or twice-yearly wellness exams allow your vet to monitor your pet's weight and spot early signs of illness before conditions become serious.
If your dog is following a weight loss plan, visit your vet for follow-up appointments so that your pup's progress can be monitored and dietary adjustments can be 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.