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Is my dog overweight?

While a few extra pounds on their pet may not worry some dog owners, that extra weight can negatively impact your pooch's health, longevity and quality of life. Here, our Kinston vets discuss how to tell if you've got an overweight dog, and what you can do to get them to a healthier size. 

How to Tell if Your Dog Is Overweight

If you suspect your dog is overweight, we recommend booking a physical checkup with your vet. Your veterinarian can weigh your pooch and conduct a comprehensive physical examination to capture a complete picture of their general heath and tell you whether your dog is overweight based on their breed and natural body build. 

Excess weight on a dog can contribute to many serious, painful medical conditions in dogs,including:

  • Heart disease
  • Cancerous tumors
  • Diabetes
  • Arthritis
  • Lung disorders
  • High blood pressure
  • Immune dysfunction 

This makes it imperative to help your dog remain at a healthy weight. 

Even if your dog doesn't overeat, if they do not get enough exercise and consume more calories than they burn, weight gain will inevitably occur.

If you're not sure whether it's necessary to take your dog to the vet for an exam, we've listed some symptoms that can help you identify if your pup is overweight. 

If your canine companion is at a healthy weight, you should be able to feel her ribs without a thick layer of fat covering them. Your dog's chest should be wider than the abdomen and there will be a noticeable tuck-up from chest to stomach at about the point where her waist should be (see the overweight dog chart below). 

In dogs that are overweight, we typically won't see a distinction between the chest and stomach when looking at them from the side. The waistline will also not be visible. Overweight dogs will often pant, even when walking relatively slowly, and they may walk slower and require more naps than before, as they are spending more energy moving the same distance as they did previously.

Overweight dog chart, Kinston Vets

How to Help Your Dog Lose Weight

A serious underlying health problem may be to blame, or a contributing factor, to your dog's weight gain. If you think your pooch is overweight, contact your veterinarian to schedule an appointment. If your vet says your dog is overweight and there aren't any health issues causing their weight gain, the veterinarian will prescribe a diet and exercise plan to help you get your dog's weight back to a healthy point. 

Here are a few ways you can help your pooch lose those extra pounds. 

Regular 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 pooch with a fun way to burn a few extra calories.

Diet & Feeding

Your vet will be able to calculate just the correct amount of calories your dog needs to be fed at every meal and prescribe a low-calorie diet food to help with your dog's weight. Ensure that you feed your pup at the same time each day and that you measure their food portions based on their ideal weight for their size or breed.

Annual or Semi-Annual Wellness Exams

Even when you're sure that there is nothing wrong with your pup, take your dog to the vet every year for a routine wellness exam. Annual or twice-yearly wellness exams allow your veterinarian 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.

Do you suspect your dog may be overweight? Contact our Kinston vets today to help get your pup's weight under control.

Always Welcoming New Patients

Five Oaks Animal Hospital is thrilled to be accepting new patients! Our qualified vets are passionate about the health of Kinston companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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