Dogs getting obese is a concern raised by most dog owners. An overweight dog can have many health issues and can affect its lifespan.
How to Tell if Your Dog is Overweight? - You should be taking your dog's overweight seriously and look for solutions. You can check if your dog is overweight at home simply by knowing some tricks of how to tell if your dog is overweight.
Determining if a dog is overweight involves physical and visual tests. You should be able to feel but not see their ribs, observe a waistline from above, and notice an abdominal tuck when viewed from the side. If unsure, consult a vet for accurate body condition scoring.
There are many other ways to check for obesity in dogs, and for further assistance, you can also meet your dog’s vet. Finding the causes of being overweight and creating a good diet plan is essential. Obesity can create many health impacts on your dogs and even death.
While it may be disappointing seeing your dog fatty, they can be brought back to standard shape if given proper attention. Knowing the causes can help find the solution. Planning a diet plan with the vet is one of the best ways to bring your pet back to standard size.
Reasons for Dogs Becoming Overweight
Many reasons make your dog gain weight, ranging from genetic factors to lifestyle. Some of the reasons are:
Overfeeding and Diet
Most obese dogs are either overfed or are not following a healthy diet plan. You may think your dog will look cute if you make them feed more.
But that is not right. You should not overfeed them. Giving treats are okay, but they shouldn't be shown in large quantities.
Dogs between the ages of 6 to10 have a high risk of obesity.
Mood disorders like depression can make your dog obese.
If your dog is less active, it can result in being overweight. Exercise is essential for keeping your dog healthy.
How to Tell if Your Dog is Overweight?
There are ways to determine obesity in your dogs other than going to a vet.
Dog’s Body Shape
Checking your dog's body shape is the easiest way. Look at your dog from above. If your dog's condition is oval, then your dog is fat. A healthy dog will have an hourglass-shaped body. The abdomen will be slimmer than the chest and hips.
Check Your Dog’s Ribs
Your dog is healthy if you can feel the ribs without pressing hard on them. If your dog is fat, then its ribs won’t be prominent.
A sagging abdomen is a sign of being overweight. If the chest is broader and the abdomen thinner when you look at your dog from the side, your dog is fit.
Less Interest in Physical Activities
If you notice changes in your dog’s activeness, it might be a sign of getting fat. If your active dog is not showing any interest in exercises or any activities, then your dog is not fit.
Change in Your Dog’s Behavior
Excessive sleeping, trouble walking and breathing heavily after any activity is some signs indicating fat gain. Other behavioural changes are struggling to get up after lying and constant panting.
Check the Weight of Your Dog
Checking your dog's weight can help determine if your dog is overweight. The healthy weight of dogs varies across different breeds. With the help of your vet, you can know the ideal weight of each breed. After this, you can check your dog’s weight and decide if it is fat or not.
Dog Breeds Prone to Weight Gain
Some breeds are prone to obesity. They are:
- Labrador Retrievers
- Golden Retrievers
- Cocker Spaniels
- Cairn Terriers
- Scottish Terriers
- Basset Hounds
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
- Mixed breeds
Medical Conditions Causing Overweight
Some dogs gain weight due to certain medical conditions like:
- Hypothyroidism - in middle-aged dogs, hypothyroidism in dogs can cause lowered metabolism.
- Cushing's syndrome - in this condition, excess cortisol is produced. This leads to increased appetite and fat stores. Eventually, dogs gain extra weight.
- Osteoarthritis - this condition makes the dog less active, which leads to obesity.
Consequences of Overweight
Obesity in dogs can be highly dangerous and may lead to consequences like:
- Difficulty in breathing
- Risk for heat stroke
- Orthopaedic concerns
- Weak immune system
- Reduction in lifespan
- Mammary tumours
- Heart problems
- High blood pressure
How to Help Your Dog Lose Weight?
Now that you have understood your dog is overweight, you should help them lose weight so that they will be leading a healthy life.
You can help them lose weight with suggestions from your vet and a proper diet.
Consult Your Vet
This is the first step you can take. Your veterinarian can check your dog's health status and suggest how to overcome obesity. Set realistic goals for weight loss.
Being less active can be a significant factor contributing to weight gain. So to make your pup healthy, make it do exercises regularly. It can be walks, small practices or outdoor games. Engaging in activities can burn calories and help reduce weight.
Annual or twice-yearly checkups will be beneficial for keeping your dogs healthy. Regular check-ups will help examine early signs of illness and help monitor your dog's weight.
Follow-up visits are necessary if your vet has given your dog a weight loss plan.
Diet Plan for Your Dog to Lose Weight
Your vet can suggest an ideal diet plan for your dog to lose weight. The steps of a weight loss plan are:
- As a primary step, the veterinarian will find your dog's ideal body weight. It varies across breeds, so it is better to ask the vet to know a perfect weight. The importance may suggest how many calories your dog should eat daily.
- Cutting their daily extra calorie intake, as per the vet's suggestion, aids in weight loss.
- Reduce giving carbs and fatty foods to your dog.
- Treats play an essential role in the daily calorie intake of your dog. As per the daily calorie limit the vet prescribes, you should plan how many treats you should give your dogs.
- Choose treats with just a few calories so that only a tiny amount of calories is provided daily. You can also change the reward from giving a food item to a toy. Through this, they will be rewarded, and there won't be any extra calories. You should let others know, especially children, about the dog's diet plan so that they won't be given anything which is not on your diet plan.
- Overfeeding is the main issue of most obese dogs. So you should set a schedule for feeding your dog. Ideally, you can provide your dog with at least two meals daily. More than this can be done only after considering your dog's diet chart.
- Check the weight once every two weeks. If you follow a proper diet plan, your dog will lose around two per cent of the weight per week, or it can yield about eight per cent of its weight per month.
- You can adjust calories as per the dog's weight loss. Calorie intake can be increased or decreased as per the progress of your diet plan. But make sure you are not deviating from the goal. Sometimes, a reduced food intake won’t make your dog feel full. In such a situation, you can give them low-calorie vegetables like broccoli or cauliflower.
- You should add exercise to your dog's weight loss and diet plans. This can accelerate the level of weight loss.
Best Foods for Weight Loss in Dogs
Natural foods are good for weight loss. Some foods have low calories and can be best to add to your dog’s weight loss plan.
- Dietary protein-Protein is a critical factor in weight loss in dogs. It helps in the growth of skeletal muscle and helps preserve muscle tissue.
- Vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids: Foods with vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids fulfil the energy requirement of your dog when your dog is eating less as per the diet.
- Fibre and Water: adding food containing high fibre and water to the diet plan can benefit dogs' health. Veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, celery, and green beans are rich in fibre content.
Benefits of Weight Loss
Helping your dog lose its weight helps improve the quality of your dog’s life. Weight loss helps decrease the stress on joints, improve cardiovascular function, enhance energy, reduce the need for medications and increase lifespan.
There are many ways to determine whether your dog is obese. You can know if your dog is overweight by appearance and checking the weight. Checking the changes in its behaviour can also give signs of weight gain.
Knowing the cause can help in helping your dog lose weight. You can bring your pet back to average weight by consulting your veterinarian and making a weight loss plan or just going through how to tell if your dog is overweight.