Obesity in dogs is on the rise and poses a serious health risk to our canine companions. If your pooch seems extra cuddly they may be carrying a little too much weight. Today, our Las Vegas vets explain how you can tell if your dog might be overweight, and what you should do.
Is my dog overweight?
You should take your dog to the vet for a checkup if you suspect that they may be overweight. Your pet's overall health will be evaluated by your veterinarian, who will also weigh your dog. Based on the breed and build of your dog, the vet will determine whether your pet is overweight.
Many serious and painful conditions in dogs can be made worse by carrying extra weight. Because of this, it's crucial to support your dog in maintaining a healthy weight over their entire lifespan.
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 or not your dog is carrying extra weight.
Consider 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 Pup's Ribs
- If your dog is a healthy weight, their ribs shouldn't have a lot of extra fat covering them; you should be able to feel them. The chest of your dog should be larger than the abdomen, and there should be a definite tuck-up from the chest to the stomach at the approximate location of the dog's waist (see illustration below).
Checkout Your Pooch's Figure
- When viewed from the side, dogs who are obese typically have no discernible waistline and no difference between the chest and the stomach. To understand how your dog should appear from the side, refer to the illustration below.
How can I help my dog lose weight?
Weight gain can be a sign of a serious underlying illness, so if you suspect your dog is overweight, take him to the vet right away. If your vet determines that your dog is overweight and that there are no underlying illnesses causing the weight gain, they will recommend a diet and exercise plan to help your dog's weight return to normal in a safe manner.
Here are a few things that your vet may recommend to help your four-legged friend shed those extra pounds.
- Maintain a regular exercise schedule for your dog, including twice-daily walks and outdoor playtime. Playing fetch or frisbee can help you and your dog bond while also providing a fun way for your pup to burn off some extra calories.
Diet & Feeding
- Your veterinarian will be able to calculate the exact number of calories to feed your dog at each meal and will prescribe a low-calorie diet food to help your dog lose weight. Make sure your dog eats at the same time every day and that you carefully measure out the portions based on their breed (or size).
Yearly (or Twice-Yearly) Checkups
- Routine wellness exams (physical examinations for your dog) are crucial, even if you are certain there is nothing wrong with them. The opportunity to monitor your pet's weight and identify early disease symptoms is provided by annual or biannual wellness exams. This allows your veterinarian to treat conditions early on before they worsen.
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.