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Is your dog overweight? How to Recognize and When to Act

Is your dog overweight? How to Recognize and When to Act

More dogs are becoming overweight, which harms their health. In this article, the Ketchum vets discuss the signs that could indicate your dog is overweight and how you can assist in getting their weight down to a healthy level.

Should I Worry if My Dog is Overweight?

If you believe your dog might be overweight, the first step is to make an appointment with your veterinarian. Extra weight on your dog can signal potential health problems, like diabetes or joint pain. 

To determine if your dog is overweight, your vet will perform a comprehensive examination and weigh them on a scale. After the exam, your vet will inform you if your pup is overweight, considering their breed and physical build.

Is my dog overweight?

If you don't know if you should take your dog to the vet, there is a variety of ways you can tell if they are overweight at home.

Feel Your Dog's Ribs

If your dog is too heavy, you won't be able to feed their ribs because the extra fat gets in the way. Normally, you should be able to feel your pup's ribs, which should feel like the back of your hand. 

Look For Their Waist

An overweight dog typically won't show a clear waistline, and their belly and chest will blend together when viewed from above or the side. 

Monitor Your Dog's Endurance & Energy

Lower fitness and energy levels are often seen in dogs that are overweight. You might see them panting or notice them walking slower than normal for dogs of their breed, size, and age. They may also sleep more than usual.

Check Out The Overweight Dog Chart

Following is a visual displaying the different weight categories for dogs. This chart should give you a visual understanding of how dogs look when they are below normal and overweight. 

Overweight Dog Chart, Cordova Vet

Why is My Dog Overweight?

There could be many explanations for why your dog is overweight. Here is a list of the most common reasons why your canine companion could be experiencing this condition:

  • Taking in more calories than they can burn through physical exercise
  • Decrease in their ability to exercise due to the effects of aging, such as arthritis or other conditions
  • Eating too many treats, table scraps, or other high-calorie foods
  • Neutering
  • Hypothyroidism

What should I do if my dog is overweight?

Is your dog putting on weight suddenly? It might mean they're not well. If you believe your dog is overweight, it is important that you take them to the vet.

If your vet comes to confirm your dog's weight gain isn't due to an illness, they'll make a plan for your dog to lose weight.   This plan could include a special diet and exercise routine. 

Here is a list of things your veterinarian might recommend to help your furry friend lose weight.

Regular Exercise

A strict exercise routine with your dog includes daily outdoor playtime and two walks a day. Playing games like frisbee and fetch with your pup could even help you form a closer bond with your dog while having fun and burning calories.

Modified Feeding & Diet

Your vet is able to calculate the right amount of calories to feed your dog at every meal. If they feel it is necessary, they might also prescribe a low-calorie diet food for your pet.

Many vets will also advise you to establish set meal times for your dog if they're on a weight-loss plan. They may also recommend measuring the food portions based on your dog's breed and target weight, following the instructions on the food packaging. Plus, don't forget those regular check-ups. 

Regular Check-ups

Regular check-ups, done once or twice a year, allow your vet to check your dog's weight and overall health and spot any early signs of illness before they get worse. 

If your dog is on a weight loss plan, book follow-up appointments with your vet so they can monitor your dog's progress and make any needed dietary adjustments.

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. 

Do you think your dog might be a bit overweight? Contact our vets in Ketchum today to book a check-up for your furry friend. 

New Patients Welcome

Sun Valley Animal Center is accepting new patients at our two convenient locations! Our vets are passionate about the health of our Valley's pets. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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