It can be difficult to notice if your dog is at risk of becoming overweight due to gradual weight gain. Here our Lakewood vets share some ways to tell if your dog may be overweight, and what you should do.
Is my dog overweight?
The first thing to do if you suspect your dog is overweight is to visit your vet. Your vet will weigh your pup, perform a thorough examination to determine your dog's overall health, then let you know if your pooch is overweight based on their build and breed standards.
Obesity can be a contributing factor to many serious and painful conditions in dogs which is why keeping your dog at a healthy weight is essential.
If you're not sure whether a trip to the vet is called for there are some signs that will give you a good indication of whether or not your dog is overweight.
When your dog is a healthy weight you should be able to feel their ribs without a thick layer of fat over them. Your pup's chest should be wider than their abdomen, and there will be a noticeable tuck-up from chest to stomach.
A dog that is overweight will generally have no discernible waist and no distinction between the chest and stomach when viewed from the side. Overweight dogs may pant when walking, walk a bit slower than before, or 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 in order. If your vet determines that your dog is overweight and there are no underlying illnesses causing the weight gain, they will prescribe a diet and exercise regimen to help get your pooch back on track.
Here are a few things you can do to help your dog lose weight.
- Keep to a strict exercise schedule for your dog, including twice-daily walks and playtime outside. 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 & Feeding
- Your 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).
Annual Wellness Checks
- Even when you are positive that there is nothing wrong with your pet, take your dog to the vet every year for a routine wellness exam. Wellness exams allow your vet to spot the early signs of illness (before conditions become serious) and monitor your pet's weight and overall health. If your dog 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 necessary