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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 Sonora 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.

If you aren't sure whether a trip to the vet is necessary, here are some signs that will give you a good idea of whether your dog is carrying extra weight.

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

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 their ribs without a layer of fat covering them. Your dog's chest should be wider than their abdomen. It should have a noticeable tuck-up from chest to stomach near their waist.

Check Out Your Pooch's Figure

  • Overweight dogs usually have no visible waistline. There is also no difference between the chest and stomach when viewed from the side. See the overweight dog chart below for a better idea of how your dog should appear 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 schedule for your dog. This should include twice a day walks and outdoor playtime once a day. Playing fetch or frisbee provide your pup with a fun way to burn off some extra calories. It can also help develop your bond with them.

Diet & Feeding

  • Your veterinarian should be able to calculate the exact number of calories to feed your dog at each meal. They should also be able to prescribe a low-calorie diet food to help your dog lose weight. Make sure your dog eats at the same time every day. Make sure that you measure the portions based on their breed's ideal weight.

Yearly (or Twice-Yearly) Checkups

  • Even if you're sure there is nothing wrong with your dog, routine wellness exams are important. Wellness exams give your vet the opportunity to track your pet's weight. They also help your vet spot the early signs of illness so that they can be treated before they become more serious.

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 Mono Way Veterinary Hospital. Our veterinarians can offer some tips on how to get your dog back into shape.

Now Welcoming New Patients

Mono Way Veterinary Hospital is accepting new patients! All of our knowledgeable vets are passionate about helping companion animals in Sonora feel happy and healthy. Contact us to schedule your pet's appointment.

Book Online (209) 532-5507