Your overweight dog is at risk of a number of conditions that can make life less than enjoyable for him.
- Arthritis. If his joints have to carry a lot of weight, then they are subject to more wear and tear. This can lead to degeneration of the cartilage and painful arthritis.
- Breathing difficulties. It’s not easy for your dog to breathe when there is a layer of fat surrounding his chest.
- Dogs with diabetes and heart disease are more difficult to manage with medication if they are obese.
Even if your dog doesn’t suffer from any of these conditions, it has been shown that if his food intake is restricted throughout his life, he is likely to live longer.
It’s not always easy to look at your dog and get a good idea of his body condition. Some dogs have thick coats that make it hard to see what’s underneath. This is why you need to use your hands as well as your eyes to tell if your dog is carrying too much weight.
Look at your dog from the side and from above. You should see an obvious waistline just after his ribs. If it isn’t there, if your dog’s body is essentially rectangular, then he needs to lose weight.
Move your hands over your dog’s chest and feel his ribs. If you can find them fairly easily, this indicates that he is in good condition. If you can’t feel his ribs at all, then there is work to be done.