Do You Have An Overweight Dog?

Just a few extra pounds can impact your dog's health and longevity. But, since you see them every day, you may not notice when your canine companion begins putting on weight. Here, our veterinary teams at Whites Road & Highway 2 share some of the ways you can tell that your dog is overweight, and what to do if they are.

Is My Dog Overweight?

The first thing you should do if you suspect that your dog is overweight is to visit your veterinarian. They will weigh your pup and perform a thorough examination of your dog's overall health. Then your vet will body score your dog based on their build, breed, and size. 

Many painful and serious conditions in dogs have obesity as a significant contributing factor. Because of this, it is critical to help your dog maintain a healthy weight throughout their life.

Signs Your Dog is Overweight

Are you unsure whether a trip to the vet is warranted or not? Here are some of the signs and indicators of whether or not your dog is holding extra weight:

When your dog is a healthy weight, you should be able to feel their ribs without a thick layer of fat covering them. Their chest should be wider than their abdomen, and there should be a noticeable tuck-up from their chest to their stomach around their waist.

An overweight dog will often have no visible waistline and no distinction between chest and stomach when viewed in profile. Overweight dogs will also often pant even when just casually walking. They may also move slower than before or will need to take more naps in a day than is usual.

Weight gain in your dog can also be a sign of a serious illness. So, not only should you bring your dog in to the vet to help manage their weight, but to determine whether or not their increase in weight is caused by an underlying illness in need of treatment.

Use Our Overweight Dog Chart

Take a look at the chart below to gain a better understanding of your dog's weight category and whether or not they may be carrying some extra ounces or pounds.

Dog Weight Chart

Diseases Linked to Obesity in Dogs

Overweight dogs are at an increased risk of developing a range of concerning conditions including:
  • Skin problems
  • Chronic inflammation
  • Heart Disease and Risk of Increased Blood pressure
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Arthritis
  • Joint pain and injury
  • Diabetes
  • Increased Anesthetic Risk

What To Do If Your Dog Is Overweight

Here are a few things you can do to help your canine companion shed those extra pounds.

Regular Exercise

Maintain a strict schedule of exercise with your pup, including going on walks twice per day and having outside playtime once a day. Playing fetch or frisbee with your dog can not only provide your companion with a fun way to burn calories, but will also help the two of you grow closer.

Diet & Feeding

Your vet will be able to precisely calculate the number of calories your dog requires at each meal and may also prescribe a weight loss diet. Make sure your pup eats at the same time every day and that you carefully measure out the portions based on the ideal weight for your pup's size and breed.  Keep in mind the calorie value of extras such as treats.

Yearly (or Twice-Yearly) Wellness Checks

Even when you are certain that there isn't anything wrong with your canine companion, you should take them to the vet every year for a routine wellness examination. Annual or twice-yearly wellness exams will also allow your vet to monitor your pet's weight and spot early signs of illness before they become more serious.

If your dog is following a weight loss plan, visit your vet for appointments to follow up. This will allow them to monitor your pup's progress and adjust their diet if 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.

If your suspect that your dog is overweight, or is suffering from a condition that is causing weight gain, contact the veterinarians at Whites Road Animal Hospital and Highway 2 Veterinary Office to have your pup examined and a treatment plan recommended.