Is your dog overweight?
Don’t take it lightly.
Many of us don’t realize that our dog is overweight because it often happens gradually over time. Even though it’s happening right in front of you, a few ounces here and there can add up to some serious health issues.
Being as little as 20% overweight can greatly increase the risk of your dog developing serious health conditions
How to tell if your dog is overweight
Your dog may look just fine to you, but the ideal weight varies by size and breed. Your veterinarian will be able to tell you if your dog is overweight.
Signs that your dog may be overweight include:
- Loss of an obvious waist
- Collar needs loosening
- Slow movement
- Shortness of breath
- Bad temper
Check your dog’s weight now
Between check-ups, you can still assess if your dog is maintaining a healthy weight. Place your hands on their side, and if their ribs are hard to feel or even impossible to feel, they’re likely overweight.
Signs your pet is emaciated:
The ribs, spine and hip bones are visible from a distance, and there is no discernible body fat.
Signs your pet is healthy weight:
The ribs can be easily felt without excess fat, and you can see the waist behind the ribs from above. Abdominal tuck is present.
Signs your pet is overweight:
You can’t feel ribs because they are covered in fat. Large fat deposits are over the neck, chest, spine and base of tail. Both waist and abdominal tuck are absent.
Still not sure?
Take our L.O.V.E. test to find out. You’ll even receive a personalized weight report for your pet to share with your vet.
Why being overweight matters
Even if you’ve noticed your dog is carrying a few extra pounds, you may not realize how much it can affect their health. Being as little as 20% overweight can greatly increase the risks associated with serious health conditions, such as diabetes mellitus, arthritis, urinary stones or heart disease.
Excess weight can also significantly shorten their life expectancy compared to a healthy pet.
What causes weight gain in dogs?
Weight gain is the result of an increase in body fat. This is usually caused by eating too much, especially when combined with a lack of exercise. But there can be other contributing factors, too.
Older dogs are often less active and require fewer calories, which makes nutrition formulated for their age vital to their weight and overall health.
Different dog breeds can have different metabolisms, which means some breeds are more likely to become overweight.
Neutering / Spaying
Clinical studies have shown that the energy requirements of neutered dogs are lower, and they require fewer calories.
Very occasionally, weight gain is associated with a medical disorder that may require specific treatment.
Consuming more calories than necessary can contribute to weight gain. This can be due to unlimited or inconsistent portions of food.
Feeding table scraps and “people food,” or too many treats, can lead to obesity.
Helping your dog lose weight
As well as feeding your dog the correct nutrition, promoting regular exercise will help maintain a healthy weight. Here are a few workout tips and exercises you and your dog can do together.
Toys and games
Who says exercise has to be a hassle? Your dog can also get a dose of exercise by playing a quick game of fetch or tug-of-war. If you want to mix things up, try building an obstacle course or teaching them a new trick.
Walking or jogging
Even a casual walk through nature every day can help your dog burn calories and stimulate their senses. Mix in some jogging or running to increase your pet’s heart rate.
Taking a swim is a great low-impact exercise for humans and dogs alike, making it a great option for older pets. Visit the local beach or lake to let your dog get wet and wild.
Picking the right dog food for weight management
The food your dog eats directly affects their overall health and wellbeing. Balanced nutrition is an essential part of an active, healthy lifestyle. Too many snacks can cause weight gain.
Ask your vet about Hill’s line of weight management foods to help your dog maintain a lean body condition as well as a healthy & active lifestyle.
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Hill’s Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight Small & Mini Dog Food
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Hill’s Science Diet Adult Large Breed Light Dog Food
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Hill’s Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight Large Breed Dog Food
Resources and tips
For more information on your dog’s condition — and to help provide them with the best care possible on the journey ahead — check out these helpful resources from our team of veterinarians.
Put your overweight dog on the road to recovery
If your dog is already having trouble with weight problems, there are plenty of things you can do to improve their condition.