More dogs are being classified as obese, and this can pose a serious health risk to our canine companions. If your pup is a little plump it might seem adorable, but too much weight can have unwelcome consequences for dogs. Learn more from our Four Corners Veterinary Hospital vets today!
Is my dog overweight?
If you think that your canine companion may be overweight it's time to head to the vet for a checkup. 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 breed and build.
Carrying excess weight can be a contributing factor to 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 aren't sure whether a trip to the vet is called for, here are some hints that will give you a good indication of whether or not your dog is carrying extra weight.
Your Dog's Fitness LevelOverweight dogs often pant even when walking relatively slowly, and may walk slower or need to take more naps than before. They may also seem disinterested in running after a ball or playing with other dogs, preferring to sit or lay down.
Feel For Your Pup's RibsIf your pooch is a healthy weight you should be able to feel their ribs without a thick layer of fat over 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 (see illustration below).
Observe Your Dog's PhysiqueDogs that are overweight will generally have no visible waistline and no distinction between the chest and stomach when viewed side-on. See the illustration below to get a better understanding of how your dog should look from the side.
How can I help my dog lose weight?
Weight gain can be a symptom of an underlying illness, so if you think that your dog is overweight it is a good idea to take a trip to your vet. If it is determined that your pup is overweight and there are no underlying illnesses causing the weight gain, the vet will recommend a diet and exercise plan to help get your pet's weight back on track safely.
Here are a few things that your vet may recommend to help your four-legged friend shed 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 pup with a fun way to burn a few extra calories.
Diet & Feeding
Your vet will be able to calculate the correct number of calories to feed your dog and prescribe a low-calorie diet food to help your pup reach a healthier weight. Make sure your dog eats on a regular daily schedule (the same time every day) and that you measure out the portions carefully based on the ideal weight for their breed and size, and based on your vet's instructions.
Even when you're sure that there is nothing wrong with your dog, routine wellness exams (physical checkups for your dog) are important. Annual or twice-yearly wellness exams give your vet the opportunity to monitor your pet's weight and spot the early signs of illness so that conditions can be treated before they become more serious.
If your dog is put on a weight loss plan, make sure to visit your vet for follow-up appointments so that your pet's progress can be monitored and adjustments to their diet can be made as 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.