Ask Dr. Aziza: Signs You May Need To Help Your Dog Lose Weight
written by Ellie Walker
Have you ever found yourself wondering “is my dog overweight”? You’re not alone! In fact, obesity is one of the most common diseases veterinarians see in their patients. To help ensure your pup lives a happy, healthy, and long life, we’ve asked our Freshpet vet, Dr. Aziza, to share the top signs that your dog may need to lose weight.
Sign #1: Feeding instructions aren’t consistently followed
Some pet parents may leave food out all day, allowing their dog to graze at will. Alternatively, they may give a certain amount of food every day but use unique tools to gauge how much food to give – for example, a large soda cup from a gas station (trust me, I’ve seen it all!). It’s very important to follow the feeding instructions provided by the pet food company to prevent overfeeding. For instance, if the instructions are based on giving a certain amount of cups per day, make use of a measuring cup used for cooking.
Fortunately, Freshpet proves to be the best dog food for maintaining a dog's healthy weight by providing the serving sizes right on their slice and serve rolls. Just find the recommended feeding amount for your dog based on weight, then slice, dice, and serve. This healthy dog food is that easy!
Sign #2: You can’t see or feel your dog’s ribs
If you’ve ever found yourself asking ‘is my dog overweight?’, you’ll be happy to know that there are two easy methods of checking at home:
- Using your eyes: When looking at your pup’s ribcage, the ribs closest to the back legs should be faintly visible. If you can not tell where the rib cage ends, this is a good indication that there may be too much fat covering them.
- Using your hands: Another way to tell is by feeling the ribs. If they are difficult or impossible to feel when placing your hand on the side of their chests, they are overweight.
Sign #3: You can’t see your dog’s waist
Your dog’s waist should be noticeable looking down onto their back or from the side. If there is a sagging appearance in your dog’s profile at the waist or if their back is the shape of a loaf of bread, then there’s a good chance your dog is overweight.
Sign #4: Your dog has low energy levels
Dogs who are overweight tend to not have the energy to be active. They are carrying extra pounds that put unnecessary stress on their joints making it more difficult to get around. This means that activities such as running, playing, or even walking up and down the stairs become inaccessible – consequently, they become “couch potatoes”. If your dog seems to do nothing but eat, sleep, and lay around all day, it’s likely they are overweight.
Sign #5: Eating is your dog’s only activity
Continuing on from the previous sign, dogs who eat a lot without appropriate exercise will gain weight. There are some dogs who love food so much that they seem to be hungry all the time, but if they are already overweight then they’re not truly hungry. However, there are some dogs who are overweight but don’t eat a lot. In these cases, the two most common causes include:
- Secret meals: Your dog may be getting additional food from a secret source, such as children or other family members in the house, or even well-meaning neighbors.
- Underlying health issues: If your dog doesn’t seem to be overeating but is still gaining weight, it could be that their body is lacking a thyroid hormone which leads to low metabolism. If you suspect this is the case, it’s something that can be diagnosed by your veterinarian.
If you recognize any of the signs that Dr. Aziza has highlighted, there’s a good chance that your dog is overweight. If this is the case, make sure you take a look at our blog on how to keep your dog at a healthy weight and schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to create a tailored weight loss plan.