How to Know When Your Dog is Overweight

Cats, Dogs, Nutrition

Our patients come in a wide spectrum of sizes, body shapes and metabolisms just like we do. We also find that the majority of our patients’ diets vary significantly in regard to where their calories come from. While some patients obtain all of their calories from dry food strictly, many eat food from a variety of sources. These may include wet food, table scraps, treats, rawhide, handouts from the neighbor, and so on. For these reasons it can be difficult to simply tell someone the quantity of dog food they should be feeding their pet.

Watching Your Animal’s Weight

Obesity can have an overall negative effect on a pet’s health over their life span. One long term study found that Labrador retrievers that ate less lived almost two years longer than those that packed on the pounds. Also, the group of dogs that ate less developed chronic diseases later than.

How to Read Your Pet’s Body Health

Every pet owner should be able to assess their animal’s body condition. The easiest and most reliable way is feeling their rib cage. Using the tips of your fingers, glide them back and forth horizontally over the rib cage trying to feel the ribs.

What do you feel?

”I don’t feel or see my pet’s ribs at all”

This is a sign that your pet is significantly overweight which poses long term health risks. We recommend reducing their daily caloric intake by reducing their portions of food, treats, and/or table food.

”I can feel their ribs deeply but it is not easy”

This is a sign that your pet is still over conditioned and need reduction of their daily caloric intake.

”I can easily feel their ribs and see the outline of each rib”

This means that your pet is likely at a very good body condition. Continue your current feeding style.

”I can feel the rib without effort and also see the outline of each rib”

This is a sign of an under conditioned animal that needs their food portions increased. Consult us soon to make sure there is not an underlying medical problem.

– Dr. Ryan Beizavi

Essex Middle River Veterinary Center provides medical and surgical care for cats and dogs at our animal hospital and veterinary clinic in Essex, Maryland, just outside of Baltimore. Our services include preventive wellness care exams, vaccines, spays/neuters, and a variety of specialized care. Our state-of-the-art veterinary offices are conveniently located near I-695 where we see pets from Towson, Honeygo, White Marsh, and other neighboring Baltimore areas.

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