Having an overweight dog can seriously impact their quality of life and shorten their life expectancy. Here, our Lithia Springs vets discuss the signs of an overweight dog and how you can help manage their weight.
Signs of an Overweight Dog
Your veterinarian will weigh your dog at their regular wellness check and perform a thorough examination to determine your dog's overall health. Your vet can then let you know if your dog is overweight based on their breed and build.
Excess weight can be a contributing factor to many serious 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 signs that will give you a good indication of whether your dog is carrying extra weight.
Your Dog's Fitness Level
- Overweight dogs often pant even when walking relatively slowly, and may walk slower or need to take more naps than before.
Feel for Your Dog's Ribs
- If your dog is a healthy weight you should be able to feel their ribs.
See Where Your Dog Fits on the Chart
- Dogs 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.
Weight Loss Program
Weight gain can be a symptom of a serious underlying illness, so if you think that your dog is overweight, a trip to the vet is called for.
If your vet determines that your dog has no underlying illnesses causing the weight gain, they will recommend a diet and exercise plan to help get your dog's weight back on track safely.
Below are a few things that your vet may recommend to help your dog get back in shape.
- Keep to a regular exercise schedule for your dog, including going for walks twice a day and playtime outside once a day. Play can be fetch, tug-of-war, or any game you play with your dog where they are active.
- Your vet will be able to calculate how much to feed your dog at each meal and prescribe a low-calorie diet food to help your dog reach a healthier weight. Be sure your dog 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).
- Annual or twice-yearly wellness exams allow your vet 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 begins following a weight loss plan, visit your vet for follow-up appointments so that your pet's progress can be monitored and dietary adjustments 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.