Recognizing the warning signs your dog may be overweight will help you figure out if Fido is healthy or if you need an intervention.
The battle of the bulge is real and it’s not just a human problem. In 2018, the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) found that an estimated 56 percent of dogs in the United States were overweight or obese. Being overweight or obese creates as many health concerns and quality of life issues for dogs as it does that of the people who care for them.
While a chubby dog can be cute and adorable (maybe), we should not ignore the warning signs that your dog is overweight or dismiss the associated health risks and concerns. Dogs with weight issues can experience the same health problems as their humans – including kidney disease, cancer, canine diabetes and high blood pressure – to name a few.
The following list will help you figure out of Fido is healthy – or if you should plan an intervention and up your workout game.
Warning Signs that Your Dog is Overweight
There’s more to measuring your dog’s health than just checking the number on a scale (although that’s a good start). Here are the 6 warning signs your dog may be overweight:
The Number on the Scale Goes Up – and Up
I’m sure we’ve heard it a million times – the figure on the scale is just a number, not an indicator of our true value. Good enough, but it’s still smart to jump on the scale periodically for a quick check. It’s a great tracker to see if your dog is gaining – or even losing – weight. If you don’t have a scale at home or feel uncomfortable weighing your 120 pound furball, pet stores like PetSmart often have scales that you can use.
Check Your Dog’s Waistline
One of the easiest ways to determine if BFF (Best Furry Friend) is getting a little on the thick side is to look at their body shape and check out the waistline. That’s typically what we do, right?
It’s no different for our pups. Looking at your dog from above, if you notice that the dog is a little round and oval-shaped, chances are they are packing a little extra baggage. If your dog has a smooth, defined waist toward the rear and a straight build down the sides, chances are they’re a healthy, optimal weight.
Your Dog isn’t Sporting a Six-Pack
Let’s be real here: chances that anyone in your life – let alone Fido – is going to sport an athlete’s chiseled six-pack look is super slim (pun intended). But your dog’s stomach should have a healthy, lean curve, and you should be able to see the abdomen nicely tucked in comfortably.
You Can’t Feel Fido’s Rib Cage
You want to be able to easily feel your dog’s ribs. During the next cuddle session, feel around your dog’s chest and mid-section. If you have to dig deep, that might be a sign that there is too much fat covering the ribs, and an indicator that your pup has a weight problem that needs to be addressed.
Your Dog’s Collar is too Tight
Once your dog reaches full maturity, they should not do much more growing. If you find yourself adjusting the collar to allow for a larger size, that is a red flag that your pup is gaining weight.
Your Dog Has Lost Interest in Play and Activity
If your dog opts for a snooze on the couch over a game of fetch or lacks interest in toys they used to love, check the weight. Whether you’re a dog or person, lugging around extra weight is exhausting and draining. Need tips for starting a good workout plan that is easy and rewarding? Visit How to Get into Shape with Your Dog and read about how you can turn your dog walk into a good workout for both of you.
Canine obesity-related health problems are no joke. They can cause long-term health problems and reduce your pup’s life span. But there are solutions and by losing weight, your dog can avoid – and even reverse – many of the issues brought on by weight gain.
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