While having a slightly chubby dog to cuddle may seem cute, it's important to know that obesity in dogs is on the rise and can impact their health and lifespan. In this blog, our vets from Ankeny discuss the problem associated with overweight dogs and provide tips for dog owners to keep their pets healthy.
Is my dog overweight?
If you're worried your dog might be carrying too much weight, visiting the vet is a good idea. They will weigh your dog, do a thought check, and let you know if your dog is overweight for their breed and build.
Carrying excess weight can contribute 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 signs that will indicate whether your dog is carrying extra weight.
Consider Your Dog's Fitness Level
- Overweight dogs often pan even during slow walks, move more slowly, and may take more naps than usual.
Feel For Your Pup's Ribs
- If your dog is at a healthy weight, you should be able to feel their ribs without a thick layer of fat. Their chest should be wider than their abdomen, and there should be a noticeable tuck-up from chest to stomach around their waist area.
Checkout Your Pooch's Figure
- Overweight dogs will generally have no visible waistline and no distinction between the chest and stomach when viewed side-on. See the illustration below to better understand how your dog should look from the side.
How can I help my dog lose weight?
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 definitely called for. If your vet determines that your pup is overweight and no underlying illnesses are causing the weight gain, they will recommend a diet and exercise plan to help get your pup's weight back on track safely.
Here are a few things 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 playing outside once a day. Playing fetch or frisbee can help you and your dog form a closer bond and provide your pup with a fun way to burn a few extra calories.
Diet & Feeding
- Your vet will be able to calculate just the right number of calories to feed your dog at each meal and prescribe a low-calorie diet food to help your pup 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).
Yearly (or Twice-Yearly) Checkups
- Regular checkup for your dog, either once a year or every six months, is crucial, even if your pet seems healthy. These visits help your vet keep an eye on your dog's weight and catch any health issues early before they get worse.
If your dog is on a weight loss plan, make sure to schedule a follow-up appointment with your vet to track progress and make diet adjustments if needed.
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.