Our vets in Orlando are diagnosing more and more dogs with obesity related conditions such as joint pain and diabetes. Today, our vets list some signs that may point to your dog being overweight, and what you can do to help your pet get back on track.
Dog Obesity & Health
If you suspect your dog might be overweight, the first thing you'll want to do is make an appointment with your vet. Carrying extra weight can point to an underlying health problem, and may contribute to many health issues in dogs, including diabetes and joint pain.
Your vet can weigh your dog, conduct a thorough examination to assess their overall health, and tell you if your pet is overweight based on breed standards and their build.
How to Tell if Your Dog is Overweight
If you aren't positive whether you need to visit the vet, here are some ways to tell if your pup is overweight.
How is your pooch's energy level?
Overweight dogs are typically not fit or energetic. This means you may see your pup walking slower than they should or panting when walking, more so than is normal for their age or size. Your dog may also spend a lot of time sleeping.
Does your four-legged companion have a waist?
If a dog is overweight, it will usually have no real waistline and there will be no distinction between their stomach and chest when seen from the side or from above.
Can you feel your dog's ribs?
As long as your dog isn't carrying extra weight, you should be able to feel your pooch's ribs without a thick layer of fat obscuring them. Your pet's ribs should feel somewhat similar to the back of your hand.
Is your pup's abdomen thinner than their chest?
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.
How does your pooch match up with our dog weight illustration?
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.
Ways To Help Your Overweight Dog
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.
Daily 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.
Adjusted Diet & Feeding PlanYour 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.
Regular Veterinary Exams
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.