Is Your Dog Overweight?
How do I know if my dog is overweight?
The following article is taken from the "Purina® Animal Instincts" Podcast Series.
Excess weight is a heavy burden for a pet to bear. When a dog becomes obese, additional stress is placed on the animal’s heart, lungs, and joints.
So monitor your dog’s weight. You probably won’t convince him to step on the scale each morning, but you can periodically give him a quick examination. Here’s how. First, run your hand along your dog’s side, as if you are petting him. Pressing gently, you should be able to count your dog’s ribs as your run your hand over him. Then look at your dog objectively. When viewed from above, does his body angle in in front of his hips, or has he lost his waist?
If these simple tests make you suspect that your pup is getting porky, take him to the veterinarian for a proper examination.
– Dr. Andrea Looney, DVM
In addition to an exam, your veterinarian can also recommend an appropriate weight loss dog food.
Dog Obesity: a prevalent condition that can adversely affect your overweight dog’s health
It has been estimated that over half of U.S. dogs are overweight dogs. The risk of canine obesity can be increased by genetics, high-fat diets, overeating, lack of exercise and health problems such as hypothyroidism. While gaining a few pounds may not make a lot of difference to your body, for a dog with a comparatively smaller body, a few pounds can add a lot of stress to bones and organs. These excess pounds can even shorten your dog's life.
Common health problems associated with dog obesity include:
- lameness and arthritis
- diabetes mellitus
- exercise intolerance and overheating
- increased anesthetic and surgical risks
- reduced life span
How do you know if you have an overweight dog?
Canine obesity is defined as 20 to 25% above ideal weight, or enough excess body fat to impair health or body function.
Purina Body Condition System™ for canine obesity
Cannot see ribs, but you can easily feel them. Pet has a waist behind rib cage when viewed from above. Viewed from side, the stomach tucks in behind the rib cage. Maintain current feeding regimen.
Cannot feel ribs, or can feel them only with significant pressure. Fat deposits at base of tail. Belly is rounded when viewed from the side. For weight loss, follow your veterinarian’s recommendations for feeding. Compare again at scheduled check-up. Make feeding adjustments as directed.
Why many weight-loss programs fail
- Metabolic disorder
If a metabolic disorder such as hypothyroidism is causing your dog's weight gain, diet foods may not always help. Before initiating any diet, your dog should be examined by a veterinarian to rule out metabolic dysfunction and disease.
- “Reduced-calorie foods” may not be low in calories
Maybe you’ve tried giving your overweight dog “reduced-calorie” food. The trouble is, while this food may have fewer calories than other maintenance foods in the same line, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s low enough in calories to help your dog lose the excess weight.
- Lack of exercise
Without adequate, consistent exercise as part of a weight-loss program, some overweight dogs may fail to lose weight, even if they’re on a low-calorie diet.
- Feed your dog for good health
Dog Obesity Dangers
Why is Obesity so Dangerous for Pets?
The following article is taken from the "Purina® Animal Instincts" Podcast Series. Learn more at www.purina.com.
Obesity is just as dangerous for pets as it is for humans. The extra pounds weigh on an animal’s cardiovascular and respiratory systems, exacerbating existing problems and causing new ones. Fat cats and dogs are also prone to injury, more at risk in surgery, and predisposed to conditions such as diabetes. And the laundry list of problems doesn’t end there. Decreased stamina, diminished immune function, and digestive disorders are all potential consequences of obesity.
Being severely overweight can significantly diminish your cat or dog’s quality of life. So when your porky pet pleads with you for an extra treat, remember that saying no may be the kindest response.
– Dr. Andrea Looney, DVM
Learn more about our dog food ingredients and AAFCO dog food nutrient profiles.