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

It may seem harmless that your dog has a few extra pounds for you to wrap your arms around, but obesity in dogs can threaten your four-legged companion's health and longevity. Our veterinarians in Redmond explain the issues involved with overweight dogs and what owners can do to help them.

Is my dog overweight?

If you think your dog might be overweight, scheduling a checkup with your primary vet is essential. They will weigh your dog, conduct a comprehensive examination to evaluate your pet's overall health and determine if it is overweight based on its build and breed.

Even a few extra pounds can cause joint pain and other discomfort, which could lead to serious health problems. Therefore, it's essential to help your dog maintain a healthy weight to ensure its well-being.

If you're unsure whether to consult your vet, look for signs that your dog is carrying extra weight.

Consider Your Dog's Fitness Level 

Has your dog been panting when walking slowly? You may notice your dog walking more slowly or needing to rest more than before.

Feel For Your Dog's Ribs 

If your dog is at a healthy weight, you should be able to feel its ribs without a thick layer of fat covering them. Your dog's chest should be more comprehensive than its abdomen, and you should see a noticeable tuck-up from chest to stomach about where its waist should be (see illustration below). 

Take a Look at Your Four-Legged Friend's Figure 

Overweight dogs will generally have an invisible waistline. You likely won't be able to distinguish between the chest and stomach when looking at your dog side-on. See the illustration below for a better idea of how your dog should look from the side. 

Overweight dog chart, Redmond Vets

How can I help my dog lose weight?

Because weight gain can indicate a serious underlying illness, taking your dog to the vet is important if you think they are overweight. If the vet confirms that your dog is overweight and has no underlying health issues, they can suggest a diet and exercise plan to help it safely lose weight. Here are some things your vet may recommend to help your dog shed those extra pounds:

Regular Exercise

Maintain a regular exercise schedule for your dog, 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 if you think your dog is healthy. These exams, which should be done annually or twice a year, allow your vet to monitor your pet’s weight and identify any early signs of illness.

This helps ensure that conditions can be treated before they become more serious. If your dog is on a weight loss plan, schedule follow-up appointments with your vet to monitor your pet’s progress and make any necessary dietary adjustments.

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.

Do you suspect your dog is experiencing a weight-related internal medicine condition? Contact our Redmond today for an appointment.

New Patients Welcome

Cinder Rock Veterinary Clinic is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Redmond companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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