The truth is that many people assume their dogs are a healthy weight when they are truly a few pounds (or more) overweight. Most people think that dogs should look a certain way, and when they are a healthy weight, they look skinny. In fact, some owners get told that their dogs need to gain weight when their weight is really where it should be.
Because of that, you need to understand what is at risk if you don’t keep your dog at a healthy weight.
So, what kinds of problems are you looking at when it comes to overweight dogs?
Overweight dogs are more likely to suffer from the following:
- Diabetes mellitus
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Pain in the joints, which can turn into arthritis as your dog ages
- In fact, arthritis and joint deterioration can happen faster when your dog is overweight.
- Urinary tract infections and bladder stones
- Complications from surgery
So, how can you tell if your dog is overweight?
Here are some signs that your dog weighs more than he or she should.
His or her silhouette. When your dog is standing still, he or she should have a waistline. His or her body should indent on the side instead of being straight or sticking out in the abdominal area. You also want to see the belly tucks up, instead of hanging to the ground.
You can feel your dog’s ribs. You are going to want to be able to feel the ribs easily. Though there may be a little padding, if there is a lot of padding (or you can’t feel the ribs at all), your dog needs to lose some weight.
Your dog may not be as active as normal. Though your dog may be slowing down as he or she ages, the truth is that he or she should have plenty of energy. Your dog should continue to want to take walks on a daily basis, as well as play ball in the yard.
Why is my dog gaining weight?
There are many reasons why your dog may be gaining weight. Some are due to factors that you can control, and others may be due to a condition that they are dealing with.
Here are some of the most common reasons why your dog may be gaining weight.
You are feeding too much. As your dog ages, he or she won’t need as much food. You need to start to adjust their daily feeding depending on their stage of life. You may be surprised by how little food your dog needs to eat in a day, especially when your dog becomes an adult.
Your dog isn’t getting enough exercise. In order for your dog to stay in shape, you need to find ways to build exercise into his or her life. This may include walks in the park, playing ball in the backyard, and even going to the dog park.
It may be in your dog’s genetics. Certain breeds are more prone to obesity, so if you own a dog that is more commonly overweight, you need to be even more careful with how much you are feeding your dog.
Some of the most common dogs that are overweight are Labs, Cocker Spaniels, Beagles, Dachshunds, and much more.
Certain medications may cause your dog to gain weight. The most common medication is Prednisone, though there are many different medications that can make it easy for your dog to pack on the pounds.
Hypothyroidism and Cushing’s Disease will often cause weight gain, which is why you should have your dog checked out by a veterinarian when you start the weight loss journey.
So, what can you do to help your dog to lose weight?
Taking your dog to the veterinarian should be the first step in the weight loss process. Your veterinarian will help you determine what your dog should weigh, as well as rule out any problems which may be the reason why your dog weighs more than he or she should.
If you want to learn more, you can check out my other article about helping your pet to lose weight. You can check it out right here.
Previously published on Medium and/or Newsbreak.
About the Creator
Small town country girl in southern Pennsylvania. Raising two boys on a small farm filled with horses, goats, chickens, rabbits, ducks, dogs, and a cat. Certified veterinary technician and writer at Virtually Shelley.