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Overweight Dogs: The Signs, the Risks, and Ways to Help

Overweight Pug
Obesity is a problem everywhere, including in the dog population. Understanding dog obesity and knowing what you can do about it can help you take care of your dog. Give your dog a good and healthy life by following the tips provided.

How Can You Tell If Your Dog Is Overweight?

Many pet owners find knowing if their dog is overweight hard. This is no surprise, given that dogs can hide their true shape under inches of fur. Unless you know what to look for, knowing when your dog has a weight problem can be hard to tell.
Stand over your dog's body and look down. Touch your dog's ribs. You should be able to feel each rib through your dog's skin. If you cannot, this is a telltale sign of obesity. You should also see your dog's waist get slimmer toward the hips. If the body is egg-shaped or oval-shaped, this is also a sign that your dog is overweight.
What else should you look for?
  • Neck fat
  • Fat in the hips
  • A belly that swings back and forth when your pet walks
All of these more obvious signs are an indication of a serious problem that you should address immediately. 

What Are the Risks of Dog Obesity?

Many things can happen to overweight pets. Obese dogs face challenges like liver dysfunction, increased risk of cancer, decreased stamina, low energy, diabetes, and even a shortened lifespan. In fact, overweight dogs can have a lifespan that is two years shorter than other dogs.

What Can You Do to Help If Your Dog Is Overweight?

Fortunately, you have many ways to help an overweight dog.
Feeding your dog the right type of food for your dog's age can help. Puppies need a diet that packs a lot of protein and calories into small portions, while older dogs require a diet with fewer calories and less protein. Providing your dog the wrong type of food for your dog's age could result in weight gain, especially if you feed puppy food to an older dog. 
Following the manufacturer's recommended portion sizes is also important. Feeding your dog more than what the manufacturer recommended can cause your dog to overeat. When this happens on a regular basis, weight gain is the result.
Buy a scale for your dog and keep it in your house to weigh your dog regularly. Pay attention as your dog gains or loses weight, so you will know when your efforts are working. 
Set up a more rigorous exercise schedule, if needed. Your pet's veterinarian can tell you whether or not your dog gets enough exercise for his or her age, and you can adjust your pet's exercise schedule accordingly. Set a schedule so that everyone in your house knows when to walk your dog. 
If you feed your dog treats on a regular basis, look for another way to reward your dog, either by praising your pet or by playing with your pet when he or she does something right. If you feel rewarding your dog with treats is necessary, choose your treats wisely and give them to your dog in moderation. 
Work with your pet's veterinarian to ensure that your pet loses weight effectively and in a way that is healthy. Your pet's veterinarian can give you tips to make your dog weight loss efforts a success.

Contact Us for More Information Today

At Blue Cross Animal Hospital, we are always happy to answer all pet owner questions or concerns. Give us a call today to find out more about how you can help your dog lose weight.