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Puppy Pounds: Is Your Dog Overweight?

Is weight a sensitive subject for your K9 companion? Is the term “winter weight” being used when describing your four-legged friend’s current physique? Well, here are a few helpful tips to encourage the scale to tip back down in your best friend’s favor.

First off, how can we determine whether or not our pups could stand to lose a few pounds? The scale is just numbers, and unlike in humans, we can’t tell if fluffy has recently had to go up a belt size! The best way to evaluate our pups’ weight is actually by feel! Do you pet your dog? If your answer was yes, then you are half-way there! Now pet your dog on his/her sides where their rib cage is. Can you feel the contour of his ribs without pushing in? If no, then your pup may be over weight! To help confirm your suspicions, there is another way to tell if your pup’s physique is not up to par. Unless you have a Great Dane, like myself, you can likely stand up and look directly down to gaze upon your pup’s back. Now observe the shape of your dog from this angle. Can you see a clear definition, or tuck inwards where the ribs end and the abdomen begins? If no, this may also be an indicator that there is some excess weight. An ideal view from this prospective would show our pups’ having an hourglass figure.

Now that we have determined that our furry friend is packing on the pounds how can we rectify it? Although there is no Jenny Craig for dogs, this program has the right idea for weight loss. Calorie counting is going to be a key component in combating weight-gain in our loyal companions. Because dogs come in all shapes and sizes, the best way to determine how many calories they will need in a day is by going to your Veterinarian. Your Veterinarian will give your pup a physical exam to determine an ideal weight and produce a daily calorie calculation. Once you have your pup’s daily calories all you have to do is taper his or her food intake accordingly. Don’t forget, treats and table scraps count towards those daily calories!!!

Here is the fun part! Physical activity is another way we can help our pup’s drop some pounds— walk, run, play, or a good old fashion game of fetch. To encourage a healthy weight, dogs should get at least 30 minutes of quality physical activity a day. Do you have trouble finding the time to give your pooch their much needed 30 minutes? Well you are in luck! I happen to know someone who would love to help!

- Tiffany