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Is Your Dog Overweight? Signs, Symptoms & What to Do

Dog obesity is a growing concern for pet owners and veterinarians alike. An overweight dog is more than just a cosmetic issue; it can lead to severe health problems, including diabetes, heart disease, and joint issues. Understanding the causes, recognizing the signs, and knowing what steps to take are crucial in managing your dog's weight.

Major Reasons for Dog Obesity

If you suspect your dog might be overweight, you must schedule a visit to the vet for a checkup. Your veterinarian will weigh your dog and conduct a comprehensive examination to assess your pup's health. They will let you know if your dog is overweight based on breed and physique.

Carrying excess weight can contribute to many severe and painful conditions in dogs. Therefore, it's crucial to help your dog maintain a healthy weight throughout their life.

If you're unsure whether a vet visit is necessary, here are some significant reasons for dog obesity:

  • Overfeeding: The most common cause of obesity in dogs is overfeeding. Many pet owners give their dogs more food than necessary, including high-calorie treats and table scraps.
  • Lack of exercise: A sedentary lifestyle can lead to weight gain. Dogs need regular physical activity to maintain a healthy weight.
  • Age: As dogs age, their metabolism slows, making gaining weight easier.
  • Breed: Some breeds are more prone to weight gain than others. Breeds like Labrador Retrievers, Beagles, and Dachshunds are known for their tendency to become overweight.
  • Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as hypothyroidism or Cushing's disease, can lead to weight gain in dogs.

Recognizing the Signs of an Overweight Dog

Identifying whether your dog is overweight involves looking for the following signs:

Visible Weight Gain

  • An increase in weight is the most obvious song. Regregarly weight your dog to motor changes.

Difficulty Breathing 

  • Overweight dogs often have trouble breathing, especially after minimal exertion.

Reduce Stamina

  • An overweight dog may tire quickly during walks or playtime. 

Inability to Feel Ribs 

  • You should be able to feel your dog's ribs without pressing hard. If you cannot, your dog might be overweight. 

Noticeable Fat Deposits

Fat deposits around the neck and base of the tail can indicate obesity. 

Checkout Your Dog's Figure

  • When viewed side-on, overweight dogs generally have no visible waistline or distinction between the chest and stomach. See the illustration below to better understand how your dog should look from the side.

Overweight dog chart, Memphis Emergency vets

What to Do If Your Dog Is Overweight

Weight gain can be a symptom of a serious underlying illness. If you think your dog is overweight, a vet trip is necessary. If your vet determines that your pup is overweight and no underlying illnesses are causing the weight gain, they will recommend a diet and exercise plan to help your puppy safely get back on track. Here are a few things your vet may suggest to help your four-legged friend shed those extra pounds.

Regular Exercise

  • Keep your dog on a regular exercise schedule, including walking twice daily and playing outside once daily. Playing fetch or frisbee can help you and your dog form a closer bond and give your pup a fun way to burn a few extra calories.

Diet & Feeding

  • Your vet can calculate the correct number of calories to feed your dog at each meal and prescribe a low-calorie diet to help your pup reach a healthier weight. Be 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

  • It's important to schedule routine wellness exams for your dog, even when you think they are perfectly healthy. Annual or biannual checkups allow your vet to monitor your pet's weight and identify any early signs of illness. This helps ensure that any conditions are treated before they become more serious.

When to Visit the Vet

If you suspect your dog is overweight, visiting the vet promptly is crucial. The vet will perform a physical examination and may recommend blood tests to rule out any underlying medical conditions contributing to the weight gain. Early intervention can prevent severe health issues and improve your dog's quality of life.

At Smith Animal Hospital, we have a veterinary nutritionist who can provide personalized advice and support. Ensuring your dog maintains a healthy weight is essential for their overall well-being.

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.

New Patients Welcome

Smith Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Houston County companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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