Why should I worry if my dog is overweight?
If you think that your dog may be overweight, the very first thing you should do is to make an appointment with your vet. Carrying extra weight can be a sign of an underlying health issue, and can also be a contributing factor to many health issues in dogs including joint pain and diabetes.
Your vet will weigh your dog, do a thorough examination to determine their overall health, then let you know if your pet is overweight based on their build and breed standards.
Is my dog overweight?
If you aren't sure whether a trip to the vet is necessary there are some ways to tell if your pooch is overweight.
Feel Your Dog's Ribs
Provided that your dog isn't carrying extra weight you should be able to feel your pup's ribs without a thick layer of fat obscuring them. Your pet's ribs should feel somewhat like the back of your hand.
Look for the Tuck-Up
Looking from directly above your dog you should notice that your pup's chest is notably than their abdomen, and from the side you should be able to see a tuck-up from their chest to stomach.
Look For Your Pup's Waist
A dog that is overweight will generally have no real waistline and no distinction between their chest and stomach when viewed from the side or from above.
Monitor Your Dog's Energy & Endurance
Reduced levels of energy and fitness are common in overweight dogs. This means that you may notice your pup panting when walking, or walking slower than they should need to based on their age and size. You may even notice that your pooch spends a lot of time sleeping.
Check Out The Overweight Dog Chart
Below is an illustration showing dogs of different weight categories. Look over this overweight dog chart to get a visual understanding of what a dog should look like if they are a healthy weight, and what they might look like if they are overweight.
What should I do if my dog is overweight?
Unexplained weight gain can be a sign of serious illness, so if you think that your dog is overweight a trip to the vet is an important first step.
If your veterinarian determines that your canine companion is overweight and there are no underlying illnesses causing the weight gain, your vet will prescribe a diet and exercise plan to help get your pup's weight back on track.
Here are some things your vet may suggest to help your pup lose weight.
Regular ExerciseFollow a strict exercise schedule for your pup, including two walks every day and some daily outdoor playtime. Playing fetch or frisbee can help you and your pooch form a closer bond as well as provide your pet with a fun way to burn some extra calories.
Modified Diet & FeedingYour veterinarian can calculate the correct number of calories to feed your dog at each meal, and prescribe a low-calorie diet food for your pet if they feel it is necessary. Many vets recommend that dogs eat at the same time every day when following a weight loss plan, and pet parents should measure out the portions carefully based on their vet's recommendation or the amount stated on the food packaging for their dog's breed and ideal weight.
Annual or twice-yearly wellness exams and regular preventive care give your vet the opportunity to examine your pooch for early signs of illness (before conditions become serious) and monitor your pet's weight and overall health.
If your pup 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 they are 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.
Do you think that your dog might be carrying a few extra pounds? Contact our Cordova vets at Germantown Parkway Animal Hospital today to book an examination for your pup.
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We're always accepting new patients, so contact our veterinary hospital today to book your pet's first appointment.
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