You may think of your pooch as simply being extra cuddly but carrying just a few extra pounds can negatively impact your dog's overall health and longevity. Today our North Asheville vets explain how to tell if your dog is overweight, and what you should do.
How can I tell if I have an overweight dog?
Could your dog be overweight? If so, then it's time to head to the vet for a checkup. Your veterinarian will weigh your pooch, perform a thorough examination to determine your pup's overall health, then let you know if your dog is overweight based on their build and breed standards.
Carrying excess weight can be a contributing factor to many serious and painful conditions in dogs. That's why it's so important to help your dog maintain a healthy weight for their breed and build.
Not sure whether a trip to the vet is called for? Here are some signs that will give you a good indication of whether or not your dog is carrying extra weight.
If your pup 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).
Dogs that are overweight will generally have no visible waistline and no distinction between the chest and stomach when viewed side-on. Overweight dogs often pant even when walking relatively slowly, and may walk slower or need to take more naps than before.
How to Help Your Dog Lose Weight
Weight gain can be a symptom of a serious underlying illness, so if you think that your dog is overweight a trip to the vet is definitely called for. If your vet determines that your pooch is overweight and there are no underlying illnesses causing the weight gain, they will prescribe a diet and exercise plan to help get your pooch back on track.
Here are a few things you can do to help your furry friend shed those extra pounds.
Regular ExerciseKeep to a regular exercise schedule for your dog, including going for walks twice a day and playtime outside once a day. Playing fetch or frisbee can help you and your dog to form a closer bond as well as provide your pooch with a fun way to burn a few extra calories.
Diet & FeedingYour veterinarian can 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. Make 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).
Yearly (or Twice-Yearly) Checkups
Even when you're sure that there is nothing wrong with your pup, take your dog to the vet every year for a routine wellness exam. Annual or twice-yearly wellness exams allow your veterinarian 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.