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Weight Problems

Obesity in dogs is almost as common as obesity in humans. The health consequences of these extra pounds are just as serious, too. Overweight dogs put greater stress on their joints, hearts, lungs, liver, and kidneys. They're more prone to injury, and are at a higher risk during surgery.

How to tell if your dog is overweight

  • Check the ribs. Yes, there should be a little fat over them, but you should be able to feel them. If you can't find them...you've got a problem. In fact, feel around for the major bones all over your dog's body--legs, spine, shoulders, hips. If you have trouble finding any of them, then your pet has a bit too much padding.
  • Check the breathing. If your dog breathes heavily even after little or no exertion, or has a hard time recovering from a short walk or play session, there could be a problem.
  • Check the base of the tail. A little fat should cover this area, but if you can't feel the bones at all, you dog is very overweight
  • Look down. Seriously: check your pet's silhouette from above. Can you find a waist? Can you tell where the ribs end and the hips begin?
  • Check the "abdominal tuck." The tuck is the area behind the ribs. It should be smaller around than the chest. How much smaller depends on the breed, and the more deep-chested your dog, the greater the difference. A dog that’s too thin will have a very severe tuck, while a fat dog may have no tuck at all.

When to call your veterinarian

If you think your pet has a weight problem, make an appointment with one of our vets.