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Is my dog overweight?

Although a few extra pounds to snuggle might seem harmless, obesity in dogs is increasing and threatening our four-legged best friends' longevity. Today, our Fairhaven vets look at the issues involved with overweight dogs, and what owners can do to help their pups. 

Is my dog overweight?

If you suspect your canine companion is overweight, take him or her to the vet for a checkup. Your veterinarian will weigh your dog and conduct a thorough examination to determine your dog's health. Based on these, the vet will inform you if your dog is overweight.

Carrying excess weight can be a contributing factor to many serious conditions. So, it's important to help your dog maintain a healthy weight throughout their life.

How do dogs become overweight?

There are many reasons why your dog could be overweight. Below, we have listed the most common reasons why your pup could be holding extra pounds:

  • Eating more calories than they can burn through physical exercise
  • A decrease in their ability to exercise due to the effects of aging
  • Eating too many table scraps, treats, or other foods high in calories
  • Neutering
  • Hypothyroidism

Here are some signs that will give you a good idea of whether your dog is carrying extra weight.

Consider Your Dog's Fitness Level

  • Overweight dogs often pant even when walking slowly. Or they may need to take more naps than before.

Feel For Your Pup's Ribs

  • If your dog is of normal weight, you should be able to feel his or her ribs without a layer of fat covering them. Your dog's chest should be wider than its abdomen. It should have a visible tuck-up from the chest to the stomach near the waist.

Check Out Your Pooch's Figure

  • Overweight dogs typically have no visible waistline. When viewed from the side, the chest and stomach look identical. See the overweight dog chart below to get a better idea of how your dog should look from the side.

Overweight dog chart, Memphis Emergency vets

How can I help my dog lose weight?

Weight gain can be indicative of a serious underlying illness. If you suspect your dog is overweight, take him to the vet immediately. If your veterinarian determines that your dog is overweight and that there are no underlying problems, they will recommend a diet and exercise regimen. This allows your dog's weight to return to normal in a safe way.

Here are a few things that your vet may recommend to help your four-legged friend shed those extra pounds.

Regular Exercise

  • Maintain a regular exercise routine for your dog. This should include twice-daily walks and one hour of outdoor playtime per day. Playing fetch or frisbee gives your dog a fun way to burn off some extra calories. It can also help you build a bond with them.

Diet & Feeding

  • Your veterinarian should be able to calculate the exact number of calories your dog requires at each meal. They should also be able to recommend a low-calorie diet to assist your dog in losing weight. Make sure your dog eats at the same time every day. Make sure to measure the portions according to their breed's ideal weight.

Yearly (or Twice-Yearly) Checkups

  • Even if you're confident that your dog is in good health, regular wellness exams are essential. Wellness exams allow your vet to monitor your pet's weight. They also assist your veterinarian in identifying early signs of illness so that they can be treated before they progress to more serious conditions.

If your dog follows a weight loss plan, be sure to visit your vet for follow-up appointments. This helps your vet track 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.

If you suspect your dog might be overweight, contact New England Animal Hospital. Our veterinarians can offer some tips on how to get your dog back into shape.

Veterinary Care in Fairhaven

Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Fairhaven cats and dogs. Get in touch today to request an appointment for your pet.

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