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5 Signs Your Dog May Be Overweight


Approximately 80% of UK vets have described an increase in dog obesity. While most owners are aware of the health risks of dog obesity, only up to 30% of owners admit that their own dog is overweight. To keep your dog in their best shape, here are 5 signs your dog may be overweight.

1.      No visible waist

Start by standing over your dog and look down to their waist. Every dog, no matter the breed, should have an hourglass shape, even if it is very slight. Look for a tuck behind the ribs and hips. If you cannot see any clear tuck, then your dog is likely overweight. If there isn’t just an absent tuck, but the waistline projects outwards, then your dog is certainly obese.

2.      Missing abdomen tuck

Now, observe your dog from the side. Like the waistline, the abdomen should tuck upwards towards the spine. If the abdomen is at the same level of the chest, or hangs lower, then your dog is overweight.

3.      Difficulty feeling the skeleton

It can be tempting to think a dog is too thin if you can feel his or her rib cage. Actually, so long as you cannot see the ribs without touching them, but you can feel them beneath a thin layer of fat and muscle, then your dog is likely at their ideal weight. If you can see the ribs, spine and hips from a distance, they are too thin; if you have to press hard through layers of fat to feel your dog’s ribs and spine, they are obese.

4.      Difficulty breathing

While not every overweight dog will have difficulty breathing, most obese dogs will wheeze because of the extra weight they have to carry. If your dog tires after short walks, or pants even when the temperature isn’t especially warm, this could be a sign of your dog being overweight.

5.      Fatigue and lack of movement

While some breeds can be more athletic than others, most are quick to their feet and enjoy a nice run every now and then. If your dog struggles to stand, or does their best to avoid physical exercise, this is another symptom of obesity.

Get Your Dog in Shape

If you suspect your dog is overweight or obese, don’t worry. According to pet nutrition experts James Wellbeloved, it only takes your dog gaining a few kilogrammes before they are classified as overweight, and as every breed has their own ideal weight range, it can be difficult to know how much your dog should weigh. Fortunately, there are practical steps you can take:

·         Confirm with your vet if your dog is overweight and devise a diet plan

·         Weigh your dog and observe their body shape regularly

·         Feed your dog light dog food (low calories; high protein) to encourage exercise

·         Feed your dog only their recommended daily amount and cut out treats

·         Exercise your dog regularly

Ultimately, obesity in dogs is a common problem, but one you can avoid. Understand your dog’s ideal weight and weigh them regularly to keep them at a healthy size. It can be tempting to reward our dogs with regular treats, but it is far more caring to keep them healthy and reward them with play and cuddles instead.

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