Sharing your roast dinners and leftover meal scraps with your furry friends might seem like a loving and caring idea, but this affectionate act can leave your dog getting heavier and heavier. There are plenty of ways to treat your dog but roast potatoes, Yorkshire puddings, and meat with gravy every Sunday afternoon isn’t a great choice.
Knowing how to spot the early signs that your dog is gaining weight, and taking action quickly, will mean you can help to keep your dog at a healthy weight, and reduce their risk of developing or aggravating health conditions. Much like humans, weight gain in our pooches doesn’t happen overnight, so it’s really important to check them regularly to make sure the pounds aren’t starting to creep on.
1. No visible waist
When you look at your dog from above, you should be able to see an hourglass shape; when dogs gain weight, this shape will start to disappear as the waist becomes wider and straighter. This is one of the earlier signs.
2. Can’t feel ribs
It is perfectly normal to feel your dog’s ribs, and it’s only when you can see them easily that there may be a chance your dog is underweight. Run your hands along the sides of their chest and feel for their ribs; you shouldn’t need to dig your fingers in to find them.
3. Lack of energy
Noticing a lack of interest in going for walks or playing with their toys is an important sign of weight gain. When dogs are overweight, the sofa becomes much more appealing. Suppose they already have an underlying condition, whether known or not known – in that case, extra weight can put added pressure on their joints and body systems, aggravating pre-existing conditions or bringing on something new (and unwanted).
4. No longer climbing the stairs with ease
Carrying extra weight can be exhausting for both humans and dogs alike and climbing the stairs is no exception. If you’re used to being followed around the house but no longer hear the pitter patter of your dog ascending the stairs then maybe their added weight gain is putting them off.
5. Increased panting
It’s not just heat and running for miles that can cause your dog to pant. Weight gain can make everything a struggle; if you’re finding that even a small amount of exercise causes your dog to pant with the effort, check that their weight hasn’t ballooned.
7. Appearance changes
If their weight is making them less healthy, this can present itself in other physical outward changes. You may notice that they’re getting scaly skin or dandruff, their coat is oilier looking and they just don’t look like their normal, healthy self.
If you have any concerns about your dog’s weight, take them to your vet, who can weigh and assess your dog for any changes in their health. We recommend regular walks, and a diet of high quality, complete dog food with portion sizes that are right for the breed, size and age of your dog.
Find out how to give your dog all the ingredients for a happy healthy life here.