How to Tell if Your Dog Is Overweight - And What to Do About It
Wondering howto tell if your dog is overweight? It can be tricky to tell the difference between breed standard and a few extra pounds, right? So we’ve got you covered.
This article will help you understand crucial signs your dog is overweight and how to prevent them from adding any extra pounds. Plus we’ll share healthy ways to help your dog lose weight.
But first - what’s all the fuss? A few extra pounds just means more furball to love…right? Wrong!
Why Do Dogs Need to Be a Healthy Weight?
Obesity in dogs comes with significant consequences. Many vets agree it’s our pets’ biggest health threat. That’s because canine obesity is linked to a whole host of other health problems, including:
Chronic kidney disease
Bladder/urinary tract disease
Low thyroid hormone production
High blood pressure
Being even a few pounds overweight can reduce your dog’s lifespan by putting them at risk of the above conditions. What’s more, research estimates that the majority of dogs in the U.S (over 50%) are overweight or obese. So how do you know if your dog is among them?
How to Tell if Your Dog is Overweight
It can often be tough to tell if your pup is carrying some extra baggage.
So here is a list of signs your dog is overweight:
Struggling to see or feel your dog's ribs, spine, or waistline
Coat may appear duller
Reduced energy and brightness
Less interest in exercise and play
Irregular female reproductive cycles (if she is not spayed)
The first one here might be your biggest clue - has your dog lost definition?
On a healthy dog, you should be able to feel the ribs, but not necessarily see them. Similarly, when looking at your dog from above, you should see an overall hourglass shape. If they are straight or thicker at the waist, you could have an overweight dog on your hands.
How to Help My Dog Lose Weight
Once you know your furry friend needs a lifestyle change - you might be wondering how to make your dog a healthy weight. Rather than opting for crash diets or dangerously intense exercise routines - it’s important to take things slowly and make small changes that add up.
Here are healthy ways to help your dog lose weight.
Exercise For Weight Loss In Dogs
Regular walks don’t just exercise your dog’s body, they provide crucial mental stimulation and that all-important opportunity to sniff. All dogs need to move, even those ‘lazy’ breeds - so don’t be fooled into thinking a quick stroll will cut it for your overweight dog.
For many breeds, an hour of exercise a day is a good target, so aim to build up to this slowly every week with your dog. Just adding 5-10 minutes a week will be a safe and effective way to start seeing results.
Of course, ask your vet about the best types of activities for your dog if you are planning on starting anything new. Introduce new activities slowly to avoid injury, and always be aware of any hazards like heat stroke also.
But if, like most busy pet parents, you haven’t got the time for elongated walks - that’s ok. Just like us humans, you can’t outrun a bad diet in the doggy world! While exercise is important for enrichment, Fido’s health and weight relies on what they are eating first and foremost, not just how much they are moving.
Portion Control For Overweight Dogs
One key lifestyle change is learning to keep on top of your dog’s daily intake of food. You’ll really need to dig down into the numbers and start getting accountable with weighing meals to get a handle on your dog’s health.
But don’t just rely on the label of your food bag, as this could lead you astray.
For example, did you know a neutered pet can have as much as a 20-30% drop in energy requirements? And we all know a working Belgian Malinois will need more food than your couch potato Maltese!
As a starting place, you can use tools online, like this guide published by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, to help you find some clarity on the amount of food your dog really needs.
Even better is taking advantage of modern life with a pre-portioned delivery service. They make it easy to determine the correct total caloric intake and food portions based on your dog’s very specific requirements, providing exactly the right amount for every day so you can be sure you aren’t overfeeding. There’s more on this below…
Oh and remember, if your dog is getting treats and chews - these come out of their daily food allowance. That means working out what they are costing in calories and deducting that from your pup’s meals.
P.S - Baby carrots, celery, broccoli, green beans, cucumbers, blueberries, apples, and bananas all make healthy treats!
Best Dog Food For Overweight Dogs
Quantity is obviously hugely important, but what’s often way overlooked is quality. Some of those big-name dog brands? They’re ultra-processed, reliant on carbs, and chock full of fillers. In other words - they’re making your dog hungrier and not meeting their nutritional needs.
A healthy weight management dog food should contain quality proteins, filling fiber, and enough moisture to keep your dog satisfied. So what’s the answer?
Fresh Food! Real, quality food that doesn’t contain any fillers or nasties. The kind of food you’d put on your own plate.
Wincing at the thought of finding time to cook your dog gourmet meals? Don’t.
Because planning to prepare fresh food at home for your dog isn’t actually advised. To get a correctly balanced formula that contains the necessary vitamins and nutrients would be a huge undertaking, so save yourself time and worry and join the subscription crowd instead.
Our favorite? Hands down it's NomNom. They make it so much easier, and safer, to feed nutritionally balanced fresh meals that are measured specifically for our dogs. Providing quality nutrition that’s convenient, it’s never been easier to provide preventative care, weight management & overall wellness to our four-legged family members.
NomNom stands out to us for a few reasons:
Personalized - Every meal is calculated using an algorithm developed by in-house scientists based on the most recent research in veterinary nutrition. That means you’ll get a helping hand to find the perfect portion size to reach that healthy weight naturally.
Adjustable - They create a meal plan based on your dog's immediate goals, making adjustments as they journey towards better health. So when your pup starts dropping pounds, you can make updates easily & quickly.
Science-Backed - Every recipe is created by NomNom’s in-house Board Certified Veterinary Nutritionists. Carefully balanced with the right amount of protein to help maintain muscle mass and strength, and support all the essential functions of the body, your dog will be feeling their best self.
Recyclable - Unlike some big food brands, all NomNom packaging is curbside recyclable, including meal packs.
Variety - With a rotation of delicious recipes, like Beef Mash and Pork Potluck, even picky eaters will be happy.
Convenience - It’s super easy to customize delivery options and schedules, and shipments are also auto-delivered so you never run out. No more emergency runs to the pet store hoping they are open!
And what’s even cooler? NomNom has a tail-waggingly good offer on right now. You’ll get 50% off + free shipping! So you can try them out hassle-free at a very tasty price. Why not give them a go and see how your dog benefits from fresh, nutritious meals?
So there you have it, the rundown on how to help my dog lose weight. We hope it’s given you some great ideas for how to increase your dog’s lifespan and happiness by helping them shed those extra pounds - and keep them off!
Want to know more about how fresh food delivery can help your dog reach their weight goals? Check out NomNom.