We all want our dogs to be happy and healthy, but do you know how to tell if your dog is overweight?
According to a recent study, nearly half of all dogs that vets see are overweight. Quite surprising, isn’t it? If you are worried, here are four quick ways to tell if your dog is overweight.
1. Does your dog have a defined waist?
Standing over your dog, look down their back from neck to tail. Can you see a defined waist? If not, run your hands through their coat along their sides and try to feel for definition.
If you own a long-haired dog, you will find it easier to assess by running your hands through your dog’s coat for easiness (any view from above might be obscured by long hair).
If you can’t see or feel definition, your dog could be overweight.
2. Can you see your dog’s ribcage when they breathe in?
Sit next to your dog so you view from the side – when they breathe in can you see the shape of their rib cage?
Again, with long-haired dogs, their hair may obstruct your view so run your hands through your dog’s coat to feel.
If your dog does not have a discernible waistline when you look or feel from above or the side, they could be overweight.
3. How does your dog look now vs last year when you compare photos?
Let’s be honest, we all change as we age so this step may only be helpful to some dogs of a certain age, but in some cases, we can get a good view of their condition by comparing photos of them when they were in peak shape vs today.
Look at their face – has it changed? Are there more signs of excess skin or a rounding of the face resulting in a loss of definition?
Remember, we can’t expect to maintain the health and shape from our youth but we can – and should – always seek to ensure our dogs are in peak shape for their age, breed and life stage.
4. Do you know exactly what your dog eats each day?
Over half of dog owners admit to feeding their dog’s table scraps each day so keep a food diary to track what your dog eats daily.
The key to their weight could be in what they eat. Some owners turn to weight management food, such as diet dog food or low fat dog food, but once you know if your dog is over-eating, or eating too much of the wrong ingredients, you can begin to put things back on track and if you own an adult dog, this calculator will be useful for helping you work out exactly what your dog is consuming.