Like humans, obesity is on the rise in dogs and poses a serious health risk to our furry friends. Today our Austin vets explain how you can tell if your dog might be overweight, and what you should do.
Is My Dog Overweight?
Your veterinarian will weigh your dog at their regular wellness check and perform a thorough examination to determine your dog's overall health, then let you know if your dog is overweight based on their breed and build.
Excess weight can be a contributing factor to many serious conditions in dogs. This is why it's so important to help your dog maintain a healthy weight throughout their lifetime.
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.
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.
Can You 'Feel Your Dog's Ribs
- If your dog is a healthy weight you should be able to feel their ribs.
See Where 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 side-on. See the illustration below to get a better understanding of how your dog should look from the side.
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 definitely 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.
Here are a few things that your vet may recommend to help your dog get back into shape.
- Keep 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.
- Your 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).
- Annual or twice-yearly wellness exams give your vet the opportunity 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.