Is Your Dog Too Fat? Reasons To Be Concerned

It’s not just humans who struggle with extra pounds. A survey done in 2018 by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention found that 55.8 percent of U.S. dogs are either overweight or obese. And just like in people, those pounds can cause problems ranging from dog diabetes, to arthritis and even high blood pressure and heart disease, among other problems.

One of the easiest ways to tell if your dog is too fat is to observe his body shape from above. Your dog should have a waist that is defined and his sides should not bulge. If your dog looks round, without a waist, then it’s likely he’s too fat.

Another way is to see if you can feel your dog’s ribs. You should be easily able to feel the ribs without having to apply too much pressure. If you can’t feel them, it’s likely bacause there is a padding of fat in the way. You can also look at your dog from the side to see if he has a “swinging stomach” which is another sign of too much body weight.  His abdominal area should not sag and should appear tucked up. 

Overweight and obese dogs also appear to be more inactive that dogs who are fit. If your dog is reluctant to move and gets out of breath when walking, then he might be carrying too much weight. The very best way to see if your dog is obese or overweight is to take him to your veterinarian.

Your vet will weigh and examine your dog and be able to tell you if he is overweight taking into consideration his breed and his size, as a healthy weight will differ considerably for different dog breeds.

Once you have determined your dog is overweight or obese, it’s time to formulate a weight loss plan. We’ll explore this in a later post. 

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By Ellen Britt

Dr. Ellen Britt has loved dogs since she was a child. She is particularly fond of the Northern breeds, especially Alaskan Malamutes. Ellen worked as a PA in Emergency and Occupational Medicine for two decades and holds a doctorate (Ed.D.) in biology.

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