Everybody loves a cuddly puppy, but there is a line between puppy fat and a chubby dog. Here’s some advice on how to determine if your dog is carrying a bit too much weight.
It is understandable that some unwanted pounds can creep on as a dog gets older and exercises less, but this is the time when it is most important to monitor your dog’s weight to keep him happy and healthy. Obesity in dogs is a growing problem, often due to overfeeding and a lack of exercise. Over 35% of UK dogs are currently classed as overweight* and the amount is still increasing.
Excess fat can lead to a number of health problems in dogs, including diabetes, arthritis, respiratory problems and even behavioural issues. Some breeds – just like some people – are more inclined to weight gain than others, but as an owner it should be your responsibility to ensure your dog is getting the right amount of food and exercise appropriate for it’s size.
Below we have some images showing how to recognise if your dog is over or underweight.
If your dog is too thin the ribs, spine, and pelvic bones are easily felt.
There may be an obvious loss of muscle mass.
Abdominal fat is minimal or entirely absent.
Waist is pronounced.
If your dog is overweight or obese there will be an excess fat covering over the ribs, spine and pelvic bones meaning they are not easily felt.
Waist may be diminished or not visible at all due to excess fat.
There may be excess fat deposits on the face, limbs and base of tail.
If you are concerned that your dog is overweight, the first step you should take is to go and see your vet. They will be able to identify whether your dog is overweight due to an underlying medical condition, or whether it is purely down to too much food! Your vet should then be able to help you formulate a diet plan for your pooch, as well as advise you on how to increase his exercise without over-exerting him.
Weight loss in dogs can be a lengthy process depending on how much fat they have, but even small slow steps towards a healthier lifestyle are better than the potential risks associated with canine obesity.
Does your pup need more exercise? Why not use Tailster to find a dog walker to put him through his paces!
*Information taken from PDSA PetCheck assessments of the weight and general health of nearly 30,000 dogs between 2006-2010
Image source : Greencross vets sponsored by Royal Canin