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Is Your Dog Overweight? Signs, Risks & Treatments

Is Your Dog Overweight? Signs, Risks & Treatments

Are you aware that obesity among dogs is on the rise? This poses a significant health threat to our beloved four-legged companions. On Santa Rosa, our vets provide a list of indications that your dog might be carrying excess weight, along with actionable steps you can take.

Is my dog overweight?

If you think your furry friend might be carrying extra weight, start by arranging a vet appointment. Your vet will weigh your dog, give them a thorough checkup, and let you know if they're overweight based on their body type and breed.

Carrying too much weight can lead to serious health issues in dogs. That's why keeping your dog at a healthy weight as they age is important.

If you're unsure about visiting the vet, watch for these signs that might suggest your dog is overweight.

Consider Your Dog's Fitness Level

Even walking relatively slowly, overweight dogs often pant. They may also walk slower or need to take more naps or breaks than before.

Feel For Your Pup's Ribs

Can you feel your pup's ribs without a thick layer of fat over them? This is a good indication that your dog is a healthy weight. Your pup's chest should be more comprehensive than their abdomen, and you should be able to see a tuck-up from chest to stomach about where their waist should be (see illustration below).

Examine Your Pooch's Figure

If a dog is overweight, their waistline typically won't be visible, and you will not be able to see a distinction between the chest and stomach when viewing them side-on. See the illustration below to better understand how a healthy dog looks from the side.

Overweight dog chart, Santa Rosa vets

How can I help my dog lose weight?

It could indicate a serious health issue if you're concerned that your dog is gaining weight. In this case, visiting the vet is important. If the vet finds that your dog is overweight due to non-medical reasons, they'll suggest a safe diet and exercise plan to help your furry friend lose weight.

Here are some potential recommendations your vet might provide to help your pet shed excess pounds.

Regular 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 form a closer bond and provide your pup with a fun way to burn a few extra calories.

Diet & Feeding

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).

Yearly (or Twice-Yearly) Checkups

Even when you're sure that there is nothing wrong with your dog, routine wellness exams (physical checkups for your dog) are important. Annual or twice-yearly wellness exams allow your vet 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 to monitor your pet's progress and make dietary adjustments if necessary.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding people or pets. Always follow your doctor's advice regarding asthma or other allergy symptoms. 

Wondering if your dog is carrying extra weight? Our veterinarians in Santa Rosa offer comprehensive physical exams, complete with a nutrition check. Get in touch now to schedule an appointment. 

Caring for Pets in Santa Rosa

Montecito Veterinary Center is accepting new patients! Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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