How to tell if your dog is overweight

UK Home Improvement

How To Tell If Your Dog Is Overweight

As a pet owner, keeping your furry friend happy and healthy is essential. To do that, you must maintain a proper weight. 

Obesity in dogs can lead to many health problems, including joint pain, heart disease, and diabetes. Unfortunately, it can be challenging to maintain your dog’s weight, and it’s not always easy to spot it early. 

In this guide, we will discuss some simple methods to determine if your dog is carrying excess weight that it could do without and how you can help your canine friend achieve a healthy weight. Read on to find out more!

Checking Your Dog’s Body Condition Score

One of the most reliable ways of checking whether your dog is overweight is to assess their body condition score (BCS). A BCS is a numerical rating that evaluates your dog’s overall body shape and size, allowing you to determine whether they are a healthy weight or not. 

Here are some steps to follow to check your dog’s BCS:

  1. Stand over your dog and look at its body from the top down. You should be able to see a waistline behind the ribs, indicating that the dog has a narrower body behind the rib cage than the front. 
  1. Run your hands over your dog’s ribs. You should be able to feel the ribs without pressing too hard, but they should not be visible. 
  1. Run your hands over your dog’s back and hips. You should be able to feel the bones of the spine and hips without too much pressure, but they should not protrude. 
  1. Finally, look at your dog from the side. They should have a slightly tucked-up abdomen, indicating their stomach slopes upward from the rib cage towards the hips. 

Based on these observations, you can assess your dog’s body condition score ranging from 1 to 5. By checking their score regularly, you can track their weight and adjust their diet as you see fit. 

Assessing Your Dog’s Energy Levels and Mobility

Another way of determining whether your dog is overweight is by assessing their energy levels and mobility.

As expected, overweight dogs tend to be less active and may have difficulty moving around, especially if carrying excess weight around their joints. 

Here are some signs to look out for:

  • Reduced energy levels: Overweight dogs may have less energy than usual and may be less interested in playing or going out for walks. 
  • Panting and laboured breathing: If your dog seems to be panting more or struggling to breathe, it may be a sign that they are carrying too much weight. 
  • Difficulty climbing stairs or jumping: If your dog struggles to climb stairs or jump onto furniture, it may be a sign that their excess weight is putting strain on their joints. 
  • Reduced endurance: Overweight dogs will tire more quickly than usual and may need to rest more often during walks to playtime. 

Changing your dog’s diet or exercise routine may be important if you notice these signs. Be sure to consult with your veterinarian before drastically changing your dog’s lifestyle. 

Seeking Veterinary Advice and Treatment Options for Overweight Dogs

If you think your dog may be overweight, seeking veterinary advice and exploring its treatment options is always important. Some recommendations they might suggest include:

  • Changes in Diet: They may recommend a diet that is lower in calories and fat and higher in protein and fibre to help your dog lose weight. The dietary plan will be specific to your dog’s weight class and breed.
  • Exercise Plans: They may recommend an exercise plan tailored to your dog’s ability and needs. This may include daily walks, swimming, or other forms of physical activity. They can give you the best recommendations specific to your dog. 
  • Medications: Sometimes, your veterinarian may prescribe medications to help your dog lose weight, such as appetite suppressants or weight-loss aids.
  • Surgical support: In severe cases of obesity, your veterinarian may recommend surgery to help your dog lose weight. This may include procedures such as gastric bypass surgery or liposuction.

It’s very important to work closely with your veterinarian, especially if you have concerns about your dog being overweight. 

A vet will help determine the quickest and safest route to a healthy weight. Rapid weight loss can be dangerous for dogs, so seeking professional advice is vital. 

In Summary

Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial in ensuring your dog lives a long, happy, and healthy life. 

Regularly checking their body condition score, assessing their energy levels, and seeking professional help can put your furry friend on the right track back to a healthy weight. 

Following the tips outlined in this guide and working closely with your veterinarian can help your dog live a longer, healthier life.


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