The obesity rate among dogs is rising, which is putting the health of our canine friends at risk. If you fear your pup is carrying a bit of excess weight, read what our Bedford vets have to say about dog obesity, how to tell if your pooch is overweight and what you can do to help!
Is my dog overweight?
If you believe that your dog is overweight schedule a visit with your vet for a checkup. At this appointment, your veterinarian will weigh your pup and complete a comprehensive examination to determine your pooch's overall health. At the end of your visit, your vet will let you know if your dog is overweight for its breed and build.
Even a couple, pounds of excess weight can put your dog at risk for many painful and serious health conditions. This makes it very important for your dog to maintain a healthy weight throughout their life.
If you don't know whether or not your dog needs to see a vet, we have listed some signs that will give you a good indication if your pup is carrying extra weight.
Consider Your Dog's Fitness Level
- Overweight dogs will typically pant even when walking relatively slowly and might walk slower or require more naps than before.
Feel For Your Pup's Ribs
- If your pup is at a healthy weight you should be able to feel their ribs without a thick layer of fat over them. Your dog's chest should be wider than their abdomen, and there will be a noticeable tuck-up from chest to stomach about where their waist should be. See the following illustration for guidance.
Checkout Your Pooch's Figure
- Dogs that are overweight will typically have no visible waistline and no distinction between the chest and stomach when viewed side-on. This illustration gives you a better understanding of how your dog should look from the side.
How can I help my dog lose weight?
Weight gain could be a symptom of a serious underlying illness, so if you believe your dog is overweight visit a vet as soon as you can. If your veterinarian determines that your pup is overweight without any underlying illnesses causing it, they will recommend a diet and exercise plan to help get your dog's weight back on track safely.
Below is a list of weight loss methods your vet could recommend to help your canine companion shed those extra pounds.
- Keep your dog on a regular exercise schedule, which includes going for walks twice a day and playtime outside once a day. Playing fetch or frisbee can even help you and your dog form a closer bond all while providing your pup with a fun way to burn a few extra calories.
Diet & Feeding
- Your veterinarian will be able to calculate just the right number of calories you have to feed your dog at each meal. They will also prescribe a low-calorie diet food to help your pup reach a healthier weight. Make 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).
Yearly (or Twice-Yearly) Checkups
- Even when you're sure that there is nothing wrong with your dog, routine wellness exams (physical checkups for your dog) are important. Bringing your dog in for a wellness exam once or even twice a year. This will give your vet the opportunity to monitor your pet's weight and spot the early signs of illness or conditions that can be treated before they become more serious.
If your dog starts 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 people or pets. Always follow your doctor's advice regarding asthma or other allergy symptoms.