Dog Weight Gain

Learn the signs to know when you have an overweight dog.

In my family, we have a nine-year old chocolate Labrador retriever, Joy. We noticed that Joy had been moving really slow and was groggy around the house, and we equated it with her older age. However, during her annual check-up with our vet, he mentioned that her movements might have been caused by being overweight. He recommended putting her on a diet and seeing what would happen. And amazingly, Joy became young and spry again!

However, knowing when exactly a pet is overweight can be very challenging. Some ways to know:

  • Pets with a weight issue will show a lack of energy. This was very much the case with Joy, which is what tipped us off that there was a problem.
  • Feel your pet’s ribcage. A healthy ribcage will have ribs that are easily felt, and the skin should glide over the ribs smoothly. A sign of an overweight pet will be when large amounts of fat move along the ribs.
  • Next, look at your pet’s face. Visible folds of skin around the face and under the chin could indicate that your pooch has a little too much weight. However, this depends greatly on what breed you have. For example, a Golden retriever with folds of skin would indicate a weight problem. A bulldog with folds of skin is normal.

By keeping your dog’s weight in check, you can help ensure his heart and joints remain healthy. Extra weight puts extra strain on their joints and heart—just like it does with us.

Keeping up with your pet’s weight can make a huge difference on their comfort in life. So be sure to check for these signs once in a while, and keep up with regular vet check-ups.

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