Overweight dogs suffer needlessly. These dogs show signs like lethargy and difficulty rising. These symptoms would not be present if the dogs weren’t overweight. It’s all our fault. Domestic dogs are very picky about what they eat.
It is easy to determine if your dog’s overweight by feeling his ribs. It would be easy to create a chart for overweight dogs similar to the BMI (human bone mass index) weight chart doctors use. But, it’s not yet possible. There are many variables and numbers can’t be used alone. A Labrador Retriever weighing 60 lbs might be overweight. One Labrador Retriever might be obese, while another Labrador is 60 lbs. You might find your dog too thin. It doesn’t matter how your dog looks or how much fat you feel above the ribs.
The dog’s parents are trying to control his weight with regular weigh-ins and veterinary supervision. This dog scored an 8.8 on the Purina Body Condition Score. You may not be able to see a gradual weight increase in your dog every day. It’s important to feel for your dog’s ribcage and place your hands on it. Credit: Photo by Dr. Eileen Fatcheric
The Purina Body Condition score System can be used as a substitute for a dog’s BMI overweight chart. It shows canine body shapes, and explains why an image depicts a dog who is overweight, thin, or fit. It is extremely useful.
If you view your dog from the side (or like a racehorse), he should be wider in the chest and lower in the abdomen. If viewed from the top, your dog should be wider in his chest and narrower through his loins, to have a waist. Dogs become more fatter and have a straighter silhouette when they are viewed from the sides as well as from the top.
It is not a good idea to be able see the ribs of your dog. This would be an indication that the dog may be underweight. However, you should be able feel the ribs. You should feel the bump-bump-bump in your dog’s ribs when you rub your hands on them. If they are hard to feel, it is likely that he is too fat. The skin should feel smooth and thin between your fingers when you touch it over the ribs.
It’s time for you to take action if your dog is overweight. Weight loss in dogs is as simple as decreasing calories and increasing exercise. It also requires human self-discipline.
My clients are encouraged to be honest about what they eat and how much they spend on it. Reduce the amount of treats and snacks you give your dog. It is safe and effective to reduce your dog’s food portions by 25% for most dogs. You can reward your dog with treats if you are training him. The easiest way to lose weight is to reduce your dog’s food portions by 25%. Whole Dog Journal editor Nancy Kerns explains how to do that in “How To Help Your Dog Lose Weight.”Alternatively, you can talk to your veterinarian about switching to a prescription weight-management food, with recommendations for how much to feed. There are many good low-fat foods for dogs that can improve their health, but also some bad. It’s best to talk with your vet about your options. To narrow down your options, you can use our searchable database.
You get rewarded for your hard work with a happy, healthy, and energetic dog that enjoys walks and plays!
Is My Dog Overweight? Whole Dog Journal.