You’ve wondered, perhaps, if your dog was a little pudgy. But he doesn’t seem to mind it; he runs and plays as well as he always has. Besides, he loves to eat and he’s adorable, to boot!
Being overweight is harmful to his overall well being and puts your dog at risk for many diseases; among them diabetes, cardiovascular disease and arthritis.
How can I determine if my dog Is overweight?
The most effective way to determine if a pet is obese is by using a 9-point scoring system used by veterinarians in evaluating the body condition of pets. A score of 1 means the dog is too thin, to the point of emaciation; 9 means the pet is obese. And a score of 5 is ideal. Here’s how veterinarians determine a dog’s body condition.
First step is to feel your dog’s ribs. The best way is to stand from above and look down on him. You should be able to easily feel the ribs, with a slight amount of fat over them, but each rib should be distinct. If you can see the ribs, your dog is too thin. If you cannot feel them at all, he is overweight.
Secondly, check the area near the base of the tail. There should be a minimal fat layer over this area, and it should feel smooth. If the bones protrude, your dog is too thin; if you can’t feel any bones at all, your dog is overweight.
Like the tail, other bony areas, including the spine, shoulders and hips, should also contain a small amount of visible fat over their surface. If these bones are easily felt or visible, your dog is too thin. If they are not visible, Fido is overweight.
Fourth, look at your pet from above. Both dogs and cats should have a nice taper at their waist, between the abdomen and where the hips enter the socket. If there is very little or none at all, they are too heavy and they’ll be oval shaped. This indicates your pet is overweight.
Finally, look at the pet from the side. Dogs have an abdominal tuck and the area behind the ribs should be smaller in diameter than the chest. If your dog is overweight, he will have no abdominal tuck, and an obese pet will have a noticeably round abdomen, as well as hip and neck fat.
My Dog Is Fat! What Now?
If you determine that your dog is overweight, you might consider slowly modifying your pet’s exercise and eating routine until the weight is under control.
You should cut its food intake by 25 percent and increase its exercise level gradually day by day. And never eyeball (guess) food portions. Check the package recommendation, and use a measuring cup to dole out an exact portion size.
Limiting snacks is also recommended, as packaged doggie treats are often high in calories, not to mention unwanted processed ingredients. Consider giving your dog baby carrots and pieces of apple instead. They are healthier and dogs find them yummy.
Before starting your pet on a weight reduction program, consult your veterinarian to determine if there are any other medical problems. Your vet can also suggest various diets, advise how fast your dog should lose weight, etc.
What better New Year’s resolution could you make for a healthier pooch this year? An added bonus? Your pet won’t likely be the only one to shed extra weight and gain an hourglass figure!