Cute or Pudgy: How to Determine if Your Dog is Overweight
Have you been wondering whether your four-legged friend should lose a few pounds? If you’ve ever described your dog as solid, muscular, or even found your dog’s chubbiness to be nothing but adorable, you’re not alone.
Though your pudgy puppy’s smile may find a way to win over your heart, you may also want to consider your dog could be overweight. Here are a few ways you can determine if your dog is carrying around a few more pounds than he needs and what you can do to keep his nutrition and lifestyle healthy.
Signs Your Dog is Overweight
A study conducted by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) indicates that 56 percent of adult dogs are classified as overweight or obese. According to Dr. Ernie Ward, APOP founder, “The most distressing finding in this year’s study was the fact that more pet owners are unaware their pet is overweight.”
It’s important that pet parents are aware of what signs indicate your best friend is no longer maintaining a healthy weight and understand the health risks that come with it. These warning signs can help you determine whether you should be concerned about your dog’s weight.
Run your hands around your dog’s rib area. If your dog is at an ideal weight, you should be able to easily feel his ribs. If you discover it is hard to feel your dog’s ribs under a layer of fat, he is overweight.
If you look at your dog from above when he is in a standing position, you should be able to clearly see his waist. A dog without an easily visible waistline is most likely overweight.
While looking at your dog from the side when he is standing, his shape should be wider at the chest and thinner at the abdomen. If you do not see his abdominal area tucked up toward the rear, he could be overweight.
If your dog is excessively panting or losing his breath during physical activity quickly – even when it’s not hot outside – it could be an indicator he is overweight.
Lack of interest in physical activities
Your dog should love playtime! If you’re noticing a lack of interest in physical activities or that he is having trouble moving around, this could be a sign he is dealing with weight issues.
Uncharacteristic breed weights
A healthy weight range can also depend on your dog’s breed and size. Some breeds only need to gain a few pounds to be considered obese in human terms. Review our weight chart below to understand what weight range is healthy for several common breeds, and how their weight would translate to an average person. For example, a 10 lb. Chihuahua would weigh 242 lbs. if she was a 5’4” woman.
For breeds not listed on our comparison chart and for other guidance on what weight range is healthy for your dog, consult your veterinarian.
Tips for Feeding an Overweight Dog
Evaluate your dog’s current diet
Wisely feeding your dog is one of the best steps pet parents can take to avoiding unhealthy weight gain. Start by considering your dog’s current diet. Are you feeding your dog according to the feeding guidelines on the bag? Are you giving your dog extra “goodies” like table scraps or wet food? These are extra calories that could have a long-term impact on your dog’s health.
Limit the number of daily treats
Think about the number of treats you give your dog a day. A few treats a day is fine, especially if you are utilizing your treats for training and to reward good behavior. Just remember that treats also add calories to your dog’s diet.
Instead of giving your dog treats every time he does a trick or his business, mix in some verbal praise. You can also choose treats that have around three calories or less per treat such as Bil-Jac Little Jacs, Bil-Jac Little Gooberlicious, Bil-Jac Dessert Jacs, Bil-Jac Breakfast Jacs & America’s VetDogs Training Treats.
Try a reduced fat dog food
If you really want to see your dog reach a healthy weight range, try a reduced fat dog food such as Bil-Jac Reduced Fat Formula. Bil-Jac Reduced Fat Formula has 30 percent less fat than Bil-Jac Adult Select to help control the fat and overall calorie intake of your dog.
Adjusting the amount you feed your dog is also an important step. Along with managing your dog’s weight, Bil-Jac Reduced Fat Formula can also help maintain a beautiful coat and muscle tone – along with a delicious chicken flavor dogs love!
How to Keep Your Overweight Dog Active
Although a proper diet is at the core of managing your fur baby’s weight, maintaining frequent physical activity is another large contributor to his overall health. A few activities to help keep your dog fit may include:
- Taking your dog on daily walks. Depending on your dog’s breed, more than one walk a day may be beneficial. This is a great wellness opportunity to keep both you and your dog active consistently, enjoy the outdoors, and simply bond with your dog.
- Playtime – indoors or outdoors! Your dog will appreciate the extra playtime and time spent with you. Choose a few of your dog’s favorite toys and engage in a game of fetch or tug-of-war.
- Spend time at the dog park. Not only is visiting your local dog park a great way to keep your dog socialized, it’s a great way for him to burn some excess energy running around!
Supporting Your Overweight Dog’s Joints
Extra weight can put extra strain on your dog’s joints. No pet parent wants to see their loveable pal struggle! If you notice your best friend moving less after adding a few additional pounds, explore joint health support options like Bil-Jac BreakThru Joint Health. It’s an innovative, great tasting way to support your dog’s joint health and immune function.
Keep Your Best Friend Happy and Healthy
Managing the right weight and physical activity for your dog’s breed and size is important to his overall health. Being aware of what signs indicate your dog could be overweight can go a long way in helping your four-legged friends live a long and healthy life.
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