How to Tell if Your Dog is Overweight
Have you noticed a deep dip in the couch where your pooch has been sitting? Are your family and friends call him a “chubby boy”? Even if you’re following the guidelines on your dog food for the right dispense, your pooch could still be overweight for a number of reasons. If you’ve had your dog for quite a while now and you’ve had him on the same food and exercise routine for quite some time, now is a good time to evaluate whether or not he’s in good stead and take steps to fix the situation.
Toys – 3 to 12 lbs.
Small Dogs – 12 to 30 lbs.
Medium Dogs – 30 to 55 lbs.
Large Dogs – 55 to 80 lbs.
Extra Large Dogs – 80 to 110 lbs.
How a dog can become overweight
If you lead a very busy life then your dog’s physical activity is likely to suffer. This will especially happen if you don’t have a very energetic dog. It’s thought that the most common reason for overweight dogs is chronic overfeeding, and lack of activity doesn’t help matters.
While it may seem cute when your pooch puts on a little bit of weight, it can bring undue stress on bones and joints and an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and cancer – according to the National Canine Cancer Foundation.
Assess your dog’s appearance
Becoming aware of the fact your dog is overweight involves determining his Body Condition Score (BCS). The BCS system is a scale of 1-9, with 1 being emaciated, 4 to 5 being ideal, and 9 being obese. To determine your dog’s BCS, you will look at several aspects of your dog’s appearance, starting with his ribs. Gently press down on your dog’s rib cage. You should feel a thin layer of fat covering the ribs for an ideal BCS. If you feel a thick layer of fat and have to press down harder on his ribs, then your dog is likely to be overweight.
Your dog’s chest should be wider than his abdomen, with a noticeable tuck-up from chest to stomach. An overweight dog will have no waist and no distinction between chest and stomach. You may also notice that he pants a lot while walking, walks slower, or naps more than usual. However, if you’re still unsure if your dog is overweight or not, it’s best to seek professional help from a veterinarian who will help you make this judgment.
All dogs, no matter what size they are, need exercise for both their physical and mental health. Keep to scheduled exercise regimens and do your best to find something he enjoys, and you’ll not only see an improvement in your dog’s physical appearance, but also his mind.
Ideally, a dog is walked at least twice a day for 15 minutes. Also, consider other ways to be active such as play and dog parks. There are even treadmills available for dogs if you need to exercise your pooch indoors or want a supplement to the walks.
Also consider some unusual exercise like swimming, which is good for the joints, or create a game of “Follow me” and tempt your pooch to follow you around the house. But any kind of exercise, in general, is great.
It is crucial that you change either the type of food your dog is consuming or the amount. High protein foods sometimes cause weight gain but so can high carb foods, so a balanced diet is the best bet. Weight management foods are controversial, so do your homework and draw your own conclusions.
Know exactly how much your pooch eats now and slowly lessen the amount to find out how much keeps him satisfied and at a healthy weight. Remember, even if it looks small to you, it may fill your dog’s stomach up substantially. If you’re unsure about the proper portion size, check with your veterinarian to see what’s best. Also, make sure you’re not giving your dog too many treats.
Feeding your dog table scraps can also become a problem. Table scraps are loaded with extra calories (and additives, preservatives, sugar, and many other bad things) that your pet doesn’t need. Purchase a high-quality food for your pooch and stick to it. It may be tempting to want to give them an extra nibble, but saying “no” to the begging is the real way to show that you love and care about them.
Make sure everyone co-operates
Everyone in your household needs to be on the same page when it comes to your dog’s weight. If your dog is overweight and someone in your household is sneaking him extra treats or feeding him a little more than he needs into his daily meals. This won’t be helpful. Making sure everyone is on board with the plan is as important as the plan itself.
Make sure you take your pooch for regular weigh-ins. Just like you would regularly weigh yourself if you were trying to lose weight. You will learn how much food works for maintaining a healthy weight in your dog, as well as what might be too much or too little food. It’s smart to go to your veterinarian’s office for regular weight checks because using human scales can be inaccurate. If your pooch is quite small, you can use baby scales.
Consider the breed
If you have a dog who is a purebred or mix with a tendency towards obesity, talk to your veterinarian and adjust his diet and exercise accordingly. There are even some breeds that are more prone to weight issues such as Golden Retrievers, Cocker Spaniels, Dachshunds, Pugs,and Bulldogs.
If you follow and stick to these rules, your pooch should lose about two percent of his body fat per week. Your vet can also help you develop a weight management program.
It’s always important to stay patient when helping your dog lose weight. Dog weight loss should be gradual – over several months depending on how much your dog has to lose – and may in some cases take up to a year. If your dog loses weight fast, then it can be easy to put it back on so be careful.