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

While a little extra weight on our canine companions may seem harmless, it can actually lead to a number of concerning health conditions. Today, our vets at Setauket Animal Hospital in East Setauket share some of the signs that your dog is overweight and what you can do to help get back to a healthy size. 

Is my dog overweight?

If your dog is showing signs of being overweight then it is a good idea to schedule a visit with your veterinarian. Your vet will weigh your pooch, perform a thorough examination to determine your pup's overall health, and then let you know if your dog is overweight based on their breed and build.

An overweight dog is at risk of developing a number of concerning and potentially serious conditions and diseases. This is why it's so important to help your dog maintain a healthy weight throughout their lifetime.

If you aren't sure that your dog is overweight and wonder if you should reach out to your vet for help, here are some of the ways that you can tell.

Your Dog Gets Tired Quickly

  • Overweight dogs often pant even when walking relatively slowly, and may walk slower or need to take more naps than before.

You Can't Feel Your Dog's Ribs Very Well

  • If your pooch is a healthy weight you should be able to feel their ribs without a thick layer of fat over them. Your dog's chest should be wider than their abdomen, and there will be a noticeable tuck-up from chest to stomach about where their waist should be (see illustration below).

Compare Your Dog to Our Overweight Dog Chart

  • Dogs that are overweight will generally have no visible waistline and no distinction between the chest and stomach when viewed side-on. See the illustration below to get a better understanding of how your dog should look from the side.

Overweight dog chart, Memphis Emergency vets

What are some of the ways that you can help your overweight dog get healthy?

Weight gain can be a symptom of a serious underlying illness, so if you think that your dog is overweight a trip to the vet is definitely called for. If your vet determines that your pup is overweight and there are no underlying illnesses causing the weight gain, they will recommend a diet and exercise plan to help get your pooch's weight back on track safely.

Here are a few things that your vet may recommend to help your four-legged friend shed those extra pounds.

Have Scheduled Daily Exercise

  • Keep to a regular exercise schedule for your dog, including going for walks twice a day and playtime outside once a day. Playing fetch or frisbee can help you and your dog to form a closer bond as well as provide your pup with a fun way to burn a few extra calories.

Monitor Their Diet & Feeding Schedule

  • Your vet will be able to calculate just the right 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).

Bring Them to the Vet For Routine Check-ups

  • Even when you're sure that there is nothing wrong with your dog, routine wellness exams (physical checkups for your dog) are important. Annual or twice-yearly wellness exams give your vet the opportunity to monitor your pet's weight and spot the early signs of illness so that conditions can be treated before they become more serious.

If your dog begins following a weight loss plan, visit your vet for follow-up appointments so that your pet's progress can be monitored and dietary adjustments made if necessary

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.

Are you worried that your dog may be carrying some extra weight? Contact our vets in East Setauket to schedule a routine exam and consultation.