If your dog starts to get a little chubby you are likely to think it's cute. But while that extra weight makes them seem extra cuddly, it can also bring about preventable health concerns. Today our Snellville vets talk about how being overweight affects a dog's health and what you can do to help your dog get in shape.
How Being Overweight Affects a Dog's Health
The first step you should take if you are worried that your dog is getting a little chubby is to reach out to your vet. They will likely want you to schedule them for an exam. During this checkup, your veterinarian will weigh your pooch, perform a thorough examination to determine your pup's overall health, and then let you know if your dog is overweight based on their breed and build.
Carrying excess weight can be a contributing factor to many serious and painful conditions in dogs. This is why it's so important to help your dog maintain a healthy weight throughout their lifetime.
Is your dog overweight? Let's talk about it.
If you aren't entirely sure that your pup has put on any extra pounds then you may want to consider the following points:
Does your dog get enough exercise?
- Overweight dogs often pant even when walking relatively slowly, and may walk slower or need to take more naps than before.
Are you able to feel your dog's ribs?
- If your pooch is 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 illustration below).
Which dog on this overweight dog chart does your dog look like?
- Dogs that are overweight will generally have no visible waistline and no distinction between the chest and stomach when viewed side-on. This overweight dog chart shows what your dog may look like from the side in each weight class.
How can you help an overweight dog lose weight?
Along with just generally being unhealthy, weight gain in dogs can also indicate that there is an underlying condition that should be treated. If your vet determines that your pup is overweight and there are no underlying illnesses causing the weight gain, they will recommend a diet and exercise plan to help get your pooch's weight back on track safely.
Here are some ways that you can help your pup get back to a healthy weight:
Get Your Dog Moving Again
- Keep to a regular exercise schedule for your dog, including going for walks twice a day and playing outside once a day. Playing fetch or frisbee can help you and your dog to form a closer bond as well as provide your pup with a fun way to burn a few extra calories.
Only Offer Nutritious Food and Reasonable Portions
- Your vet will be able to calculate just the right number of calories to feed your dog at each meal and prescribe a low-calorie diet food to help your pup 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).
Ask Your Vet About How to Help Your Dog
- Even when you're sure that there is nothing wrong with your dog, routine wellness exams (physical checkups for your dog) are important. 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.