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How to Know if your Dog is Overweight

Max. D Gray
By Max. D Gray. Updated: January 16, 2017
How to Know if your Dog is Overweight

Want to know if your dog is overweight? Well keep reading, because obesity is one of the most common diseases in dogs and can even cause major health problems for your pet. The best thing to do is to find out the amount of fat that your pet has put on and the proper way to do this is through examining your dog's body. At OneHowTo we explain how to know if your dog is overweight. Remember that it's up to you to make sure that your pet is at its proper weight and to prevent them from getting obese.

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Steps to follow:


The first thing you should do to in order to recognize an obese dog is to see how much excess fat they have. An overweight dog is one whose weight exceeds the weight that is appropriate for their age, sex and breed, by 20%.

It is not just a cosmetic issue, being overweight can cause serious health problems and shorten their life expectancy. The most practical and simple method to work out the amount of body fat is through touch, do a proper check by running your hands over your pet's abdomen and chest, this will help you work out the amount of fat that your dog has.

How to Know if your Dog is Overweight - Step 1

Through touch you can tell if your dog is obese, if they are a little overweight or if they are at their ideal weight. At first glance if you notice your pet's ribs, spine and pelvic bones stick out, this means that your dog is below their ideal weight. In this case your pet is very thin and will need special care to increase its size, you should go to the vet for advice so that your dog can regain its proper weight and especially to assess what caused this problem in the place.

Choose the right food for your dog, the right amount and a dog food with nutrients will be very important in order to do so.

How to Know if your Dog is Overweight - Step 2

If you can see your dog's waist when looking at them from above, it means that your dog is slim, but not extremely so. When you feel a slim dog's abdomen and chest you will feel a small amount of fat, but this is not enough. By looking at your dog from above to analyse their shape, you will see the difference between their waist and hips. In this case, your pet should put on more weight and with proper nutrition you will achieve this.

However, if their ribs are not visibly noticeable, but when you feel them they are, this is a sign that their body fat is ideal for their age, sex and breed. You will notice that their waist is defined but you can't see their bones, and their abdomen sits neatly tucked underneath but not too much so.

How to Know if your Dog is Overweight - Step 3

If you see that your pet has a rounded abdomen then this is a clear sign that your dog is overweight. This is because their body has built up fat and the ribs will be no longer noticeable just by looking at them, their bones also aren't noticeable by touch as there is a thin layer of fat that hides them. Their abdomen will be slightly lower and rounded.

If you look at your dog from above, their profile will be concave and they may have some folds of skin sitting out and hanging down due to the concentration of fat in their adipose tissues, these folds will be more visible when your dog moves. You'll have to take action if your dog is overweight and the most important thing is to start with proper nutrition to reduce their weight and regular and frequent physical activity.

In our article how much exercise does a dog need we show you keys factors so you know how to help your pet stay active.

How to Know if your Dog is Overweight - Step 4

Finally, if your dog's waist is not noticeable in any way, then they are suffering from obesity, therefore, you won't be able to feel their ribs and you won't see their waist. A fat pet's spine is hard to see because they have a substantial layer of fat, their stomach is very rounded and their skin folds noticeably protrude out.

If your dog is obese you have to take urgent action so that their health doesn't deteriorate. Your dog's diet should aim at reducing their weight and they will have to do more exercise to regain their proper and healthy weight, in these cases it is recommended to seek the advice of a vet in order to improve their wellbeing as soon as possible.

How to Know if your Dog is Overweight - Step 5

If you want to read similar articles to How to Know if your Dog is Overweight, we recommend you visit our Pets category.

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How to Know if your Dog is Overweight