If your dog is overweight, it could seriously impact their overall health and predicted lifespan. This is why it's important for owners to know how to tell if their pooch is overweight and what they can do to help. Here, our Cumming veterinarians discuss the signs and symptoms of an overweight dog and potential treatments.
Signs Your Dog Is Overweight
Dogs are typically always weighed at their routine wellness exams. Your veterinarian will perform a full physical examination to test the health of your pet and to determine if they are at a healthy weight. Your vet can then let you know if your dog is overweight based on their breed, build and age.
If your dog does carry extra weight, your vet will likely advice how this can impact their long-term health. Routine wellness checks at your vet are important to monitor their weight and get ahead of any potentially concerning health conditions.
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 at a healthy weight, you should be able to easily feel their ribs on their sides. Slightly visible ribs could be a sign of being underweight, but this is not true of all breeds.
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 from the side. For a better visual understanding of a healthy versus overweight dog, view the diagram below.
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.
Regular ExerciseKeep 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.
DietYour 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).
CheckupsAnnual or bi-annual 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.