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Is Your Dog Overweight? Signs, Symptoms & What to Do

Is Your Dog Overweight? Signs, Symptoms & What to Do

While a chubby dog may be great for cuddling, it's not great for their health. Excess weight can actually lead to serious health complications and even early death. Today our Crystal Lake vets share the signs and symptoms of overweight dogs and what you can do to help them lose weight and keep it off.

Overweight Dogs

If you have been looking at your dog and wondering if they are getting a little overweight then it may be time to visit the vet for a check-up. Your vet will complete a full examination and evaluation to determine if your dog is carrying a few extra pounds and offer recommendations on how to keep them at a healthy weight.

If your dog is overweight it can lead them to be at risk of a number of serious health conditions or in some cases, emergency situations. This makes weight management an important part of their lifelong health.

If you aren't sure whether a trip to the vet is called for, here are some signs that will give you a good indication of whether or not your dog is carrying extra weight.

Is your dog getting enough exercise?

  • If you have an overweight dog you may notice that they may begin panting quickly and they may not be able to walk for as long. If your dog frequently needs a nap after being out for a walk, this may also indicate that they are an unhealthy weight.

Is there a layer of extra fat around their ribs?

  • If a dog is a healthy weight there will be no noticeable layer of fat on top of their ribs. Your dog's chest should be wider than their abdomen, and there will be a noticeable tuck-up from chest to stomach about where their waist should be (see overweight chart below).

Can you visibly see the extra weight on your dog?

  • Dogs that are overweight will generally have no visible waistline and no distinction between the chest and stomach when viewed side-on. Here we have included a handy overweight dog chart to help you gain a better understanding of your pup's size:

Overweight dog chart, Memphis Emergency vets

What are some ways you can help your dog lose weight?

Weight gain can be a symptom of a serious underlying illness, so if you think that your dog is overweight a trip to the vet is definitely called for. If your vet determines that your pup is overweight and there are no underlying illnesses causing the weight gain, they will recommend a diet and exercise plan to help get your pooch's weight back on track safely.

Here are a few things your vet may recommend to help your four-legged friend shed those extra pounds.

Give Them Lots of 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 pup with a fun way to burn a few extra calories.

Feed Them a Nutritious Diet

  • Your vet will be able to calculate just the right number of calories to feed your dog at each meal and prescribe a low-calorie diet food to help your pup reach a healthier weight. Be sure your dog eats at the same time every day, and that you measure out the portions carefully based on the ideal weight for their breed (or size).

Schedule Regular Vet Visits

  • Even when you're sure that there is nothing wrong with your dog, routine wellness exams (physical checkups for your dog) are essential. Annual or twice-yearly wellness exams give your vet the opportunity 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. 

If your dog has had some unusual weight gain that requires the use of specialized tools and imaging to diagnose, please contact our Crystal Lake veterinary team to schedule a visit. 

New Patients Welcome

Companion Animal Specialty and Emergency Hospital is accepting new patients! Our specialists and experienced emergency veterinarians are passionate about restoring good health to animal companions in Crystal Lake.

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Contact (815) 479-9119