Just like in humans, obesity can lead to serious health issues in dogs as well. The primary causes of obesity in dogs are lack of physical activities, imbalanced diet, and overfeeding. If you notice a sudden increase in your dog’s weight despite having a normal diet and sufficient exercise, it could also be a sign of some hormonal disorder. Obese dogs are at risk of developing diabetes, heart diseases, bone deterioration, arthritis, and other severe disorders. Thus, it is crucial to monitor your dog’s weight.
Understanding your dog’s weight category
Wondering what is the ideal weight for dogs? A dog’s healthy weight can differ from breed to breed; hence, you can consult your vet to understand the right weight range for your pet. However, the below dog weight chart will help you get an idea on whether your dog is underweight, healthy, or obese.
Underweight: You can clearly see an underweight dog’s ribs, spine, and hip bone. There is zero body fat and that can be seen on its body. In dogs who are genetically thin, the loss of muscle mass may be evident.
Ideal: You can easily feel the ribs, spine and hips of a dog that falls in an ideal weight category. Its waist should also be visible from above and the side. The last couple of ribs may be visible on a short-coated dog while playing or exercising, which is normal.
Overweight: A dog is considered overweight when it weighs 10-20% more than its ideal body weight. It is difficult to feel the ribs of these dogs. The fat accumulation is also visible at the base of its tail and on the belly. Its back also starts to appear broader. It is advisable to start working on shedding the extra kilos your dog has gained at this stage.
Obese: A dog is considered overweight when it weighs 20% more than its ideal weight. You cannot feel its ribs at all due to the heavy fat accumulation. Fat deposits are also visible around the dog’s neck and its belly also starts to droop.
How to measure dog’s weight
You can measure your dog’s weight at home if your dog is a small breed. Here are the steps to follow while measuring the weight of your dog at home:
These steps should not be followed by those who have medium or large breed dogs. The size of your dog could make it difficult for you to hold it properly, and if it starts fidgeting, the handler or the dog could get injured. Hence, owners of medium and large breed dogs should go to the vet to weigh their pet.
How to keep your dog at a healthy weight?
You can easily manage your dog’s obesity and maintain the ideal weight of your dog if you follow a regime and take the necessary steps. Here’s are some things you should keep in mind during your dog’s weight management:
Avoid feeding home-cooked foods
Dogs remain healthy if their food quantity is controlled and they are fed on time. But you should avoid feeding your dog home-cooked food. Wondering why? It is because home-cooked meals might not have the right nutrients in the right quantities and that can later affect your furry friend’s overall health. Hence, to keep such risks at bay, it is best that you avoid feeding home-cooked food.
Refrain from sharing food with your dog
Your dog is your friend so, it's hard not to share your delicious bacon or a mouthful of steak with it. When your dog sits next to you and makes those adorable puppy-dog eyes as you eat, it becomes even more difficult to not share some of your food with it. But you must resist. Giving “human food” greatly increases your dog’s fat intake. It also conditions the dog to believe that it will be fed every time you eat.
Follow an exercise plan
Exercise is a great way to keep your dog in shape. If you have a busy schedule, then you could break it down into short sessions to play fun games like tug-of-war or go for a quick jog with your dog. You could also play with a frisbee or start working on its agility. Dogs that get enough exercise are less likely to be stressed and this way, you would also get a break from your work.
Do not overfeed dog treats
Of course, you want to reward a dog when it’s been a good boy or a good girl. But keep in mind that those dog treats can add calories and fat. And more importantly, think about how many types of treats and snacks you are feeding your dog and how often.
Check for health issues
Most of the time, dogs are overweight because they are taking in more calories than they burn. But it's possible there's a bigger problem. If you've tried to control your dog's diet and increase exercise and haven't seen any results yet, consult your veterinarian about thyroid disease or other metabolic or hormonal disorders.
Don't feel discouraged if you don't see results right away. The fight against obesity is fought one day at a time. It is the inculcation of good habits and discipline. By following the tips above and increasing your willpower and patience your dog’s weight management will be an easier and healthy process.
Choose a good pet food brand
There are lots of dog foods available in the market and each pack contains different quantities of proteins, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. You must go for foods that provide complete nutrition to your dog, and not just calories. Hence, it is necessary to opt for a pet food brand that specializes in dog nutrition.
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