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Is your dog overweight? Signs, Symptoms & What to Do

While a rounder dog may seem adorable and cuddly, obesity can harm their quality of life and longevity. Here, our Clinton Township vets explain the issues with overweight dogs and how you can help get them back on track.

Is my dog overweight?

If you suspect your dog may be overweight, it's time to schedule a checkup with your primary vet, who will weigh your pup, perform a thorough examination to gain insight into your canine companion's overall health, and let you know if your dog is overweight based on their build and breed. 

Even a few extra pounds can lead to excess weight on your dog's body and cause joint pain and other painful conditions. These issues may lead to veterinary emergencies or long-term internal health conditions that limit your pet's health and longevity. This is why it's so important to help your dog maintain a healthy weight throughout their lifetime. 

If you aren't sure whether you should check in with your vet, here are some signs that may give you clues as to whether your dog is carrying extra weight. 

Think About How Your Dog Behaves When Walking

Has your dog been panting when walking relatively slowly? You may notice your pooch walking slower or needing to rest more than before. 

Feel For Your Dog's Ribs

If your pooch is at a healthy weight, you should be able to feel their ribs without a thick layer of fat covering them. Your dog's chest should be wider than their abdomen, and you should see a noticeable tuck-up from chest to stomach about where their waist should be (see illustration below). 

Take a Look at Your Dog's Physical Appearance

Overweight dogs will generally have an invisible waistline. You likely won't be able to distinguish between the chest and stomach when looking at your dog side-on. Here is a simple overweight dog chart to help you better understand what your dog may look like on the side at each weight.

Overweight dog chart, Clinton Township Vets

How to Help Your Dog Lose Weight

Because weight gain can point to a serious underlying illness, a trip to the vet is definitely in order if you think your dog is overweight. 

Suppose your veterinarian determines that your pup is overweight and no underlying illnesses are causing the weight gain. In that case, they can recommend a diet and exercise plan to help get your pooch's weight back under control safely. 

Here are a few things your vet may recommend to help your four-legged friends lose those extra pounds:

Daily Exercise

Maintain a regular exercise schedule for your dog, including walking twice daily and playing outside once daily. Playing fetch or frisbee can help you and your dog form a closer bond and provide your pup with a fun way to burn a few extra calories.

Diet & Nutrition

Your vet can calculate just the right number of calories to feed your dog at each meal and prescribe a low-calorie diet 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).

Routine Vet Checkups

Even when you're sure your dog has nothing wrong with them, routine wellness exams (physical checkups) are important. Annual or twice-yearly wellness exams allow your vet to monitor your pet's weight and spot the early signs of illness to treat conditions before they become more serious.

If your dog begins following a weight loss plan, visit your vet for follow-up appointments to monitor your pet's progress and make dietary adjustments 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.

Does your dog seem to be gaining weight? Contact our Clinton Township vets today. We can help determine the cause of your dog's condition.

New Patients Welcome

Snider Veterinary Service is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Clinton Township companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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Contact (586) 286-5684