Is your dog overweight?
Is your dog overweight?
We all love to spoil our dogs with treats and generous helpings of food but it’s easy to get carried away. Dogs put on excess weight very easily, especially if they spend most of their day lazing about at home in their doggy bed. So, how do you know if your dog is overweight? We’ve put together this handy guide on how to manage to your dog’s weight and help them shed a few extra kilos when necessary.
Check your dog out at home: Vets often check several points on the pet’s body to determine if they are overweight, underweight or just right. To figure out if your dog is overweight you can look at specific areas of the dog’s body for signs of too much or too little fat - but remember these are guidelines are some breeds of dogs are naturally skinnier than others. First check the dog’s ribs - you should be able to feel the ribs easily and feel a slight layer of fat around the ribs but each rib should be distinct and easy to feel. If you can see the ribs then your pet is underweight and if you can’t feel them then there’s a good chance your dog needs to go on a diet.
Another good area to check is the base of the tail. If you can’t feel any bones in this area then there is a chance your pet is overweight. There should be a slight fat covering over this area but when gently pressed you should be able to feel the bones underneath it.
Next check the spine, shoulders, and hips. Once again there should be some fat over this area but you should be able to feel the bones beneath this layer of fat - if you can’t feel anything at all then it’s time to get your animal checked out. If you suspect your dog is overweight it’s always best to visit a veterinarian to figure out if there are any medical problems contributing to your dog’s weight gain or if you’re simply overfeeding your pooch.
Look for the signs: Your dog could also be displaying signs of discomfort that could be caused by weight issues. If your dog is having difficulty breathing or has less stamina when exercising than before then there’s a chance your pup could stand to lose a kilogram or two. Dogs who are having trouble breathing or who become tired quickly may be obese. Look for signs of excessive panting after a short amount of exercise or slow movement when walking or sitting down. Dogs who are overweight have more trouble moving than other dogs and this puts strain on their bones and joints.
Follow a healthy lifestyle:
If your dog is overweight then it might be time to start looking at diet and exercise. Just like humans, dogs can’t lose weight overnight and while you might think losing a kilogram or two sounds easy enough it’s a lot to lose when you only weight 8 or 9 kilograms. If you’re concerned that your dog is obese or severely overweight then consult a veterinarian about a specific diet plan for your dog. If you’re not overly concerned then there are things you can do to help your dog stay slim and trim.
Make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise to work off all that food he has been enjoying. A short 15-minute walk once or twice a day is all it takes to manage your dog’s weight. Don’t forget that playing also counts as exercise so when you’re at home have a game of tug of war with your dog or spend a few minutes playing fetch.
The easiest way to get started on a healthy eating and exercise plan is to cut their food and portions by 25 percent and slowly increase their daily exercise to 30 minutes a day. The more your pet exercises the less you have to worry about significantly reducing their food intake. But, having said that, it is a good idea to cut back on the calorie-rich treats. These treats are often the most common cause of weight gain in dogs are not always necessary in a healthy balanced diet. If you absolutely must treat your dog then look at single-ingredient treats like fresh vegetables such as baby carrots, string beans, broccoli or other crunchy vegetables. Dogs will love them!