Is my dog overweight? How can I tell?

Is my dog overweight? How can I tell?

Dog obesity is on the rise and having a negative impact on the overall health of our furry friends. Here, our Rock Hill vets describe signs that can indicate your dog is overweight, and what you should do to help get your pup's weight back to a healthier level.

Does it matter if my dog is a little overweight?

If you think that your dog may be overweight, the very first thing you should do is to make an appointment with your vet. Carrying extra weight can be a sign of an underlying health issue, and can also be a major contributing factor to many health issues in dogs including joint pain and diabetes.

Your veterinarian will weigh your dog, do a thorough physical examination to determine your pup's overall health, then let you know if your pet is overweight based on their build and breed standards.

How can I tell if my dog is overweight?

When it comes to your dog's health it's always best to have unexplained changes in weight checked out by a qualified veterinarian. If you are unsure as to whether taking your pup to the vet is worth it, check out the points below to learn whether your dog may be overweight. 

Monitor Your Dog's Energy Level

  • Reduced levels of energy and fitness are common in overweight dogs. This means that you may notice your pup panting when walking, or walking slower than they should need to based on their age and size. You may even notice that your pooch spends a lot of time sleeping.

Feel For Your Pup's Ribs

  • Provided that your dog isn't carrying extra weight you should be able to feel your pup's ribs without a thick layer of fat obscuring them. Your pet's ribs should feel somewhat like the back of your hand.

Look for the Tuck-Up

  • Looking from directly above your dog you should notice that your pup's chest is notably wider than their abdomen, and from the side you should be able to see a tuck-up from their chest to stomach.

Look For Your Pup's Waist

  • A dog that is overweight will generally have no real waistline and no distinction between their chest and stomach when viewed from the side or from above.

Check Out The Overweight Dog Chart

  • Below is an illustration showing dogs of different weight categories. Look over this overweight dog chart to get a visual understanding of what a dog should look like if they are a healthy weight, and what they might look like if they are overweight.

Overweight Dog Chart, Rock Hill Internal Medicine Vet

OK, my dog is too heavy, what should I do?

Unexplained weight gain can be a sign of serious illness, so if you think that your dog is overweight a trip to the vet is an important first step.

If your veterinarian determines that your canine companion is overweight and there are no underlying illnesses causing the weight gain, your vet will prescribe a diet and exercise plan to help get your pup's weight back on track.

Here are some things your vet may suggest to help your pup lose weight.

Regular Daily Exercise

  • Follow a strict exercise schedule for your pup, including two walks every day and some daily outdoor playtime. Playing fetch or frisbee can help you and your pooch form a closer bond as well as provide your pet with a fun way to burn some extra calories.

Diet & Feeding Changes

  • Your veterinarian can calculate the correct number of calories to feed your dog at each meal, and prescribe a low-calorie diet food for your pet if they feel it is necessary. Many vets recommend that dogs eat at the same time every day when following a weight loss plan, and pet parents should measure out the portions carefully based on their vet's recommendation or the amount stated on the food packaging for their dog's breed and ideal weight.

Routine Wellness Examinations

  • Annual or twice-yearly wellness exams and regular preventive care give your vet the opportunity to examine your pooch for early signs of illness (before conditions become serious) and monitor your pet's weight and overall health.

If your pup is following a weight loss plan, visit your vet for follow-up appointments so that your dog's progress can be monitored and dietary adjustments can be made if they are needed.

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 your pooch is putting on weight for no apparent reason be it could be a sign of an underlying health issue. Contact Carolina Veterinary Specialists in Rock Hill to find out how you can schedule an appointment to have your dog examined by our Board Certified Internal Medicine Specialist.

Vet Care for Rock Hill Pets

Carolina Veterinary Specialists in Rock Hill, accepts new patients to our specialty services by referral only. Our 24/7 emergency service welcomes all patients.

Contact Us

(803) 909-8300