The Dog Blog

How do I know if my dog is overweight and what can I do about it?

Research from the latest PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report found 8% of owners stated their dog gained weight during lockdown - potentially affecting 790,000 dogs. That's a lot of fat dogs.

If you are anything liks us, it's not just the dog that has put on unwanted weight during Lockdown. So with 2021 here many of us will be thinking about getting in better shape. So why not involve your dog too?

One of the easiest ways to help both yourself and your dog lose weight is to increase your walk distance and or frequency. But as with us, it's also a good idea to watch what your dog is eating, ensuring that you are not over feeding them. 

But how do you know if my dog is over weight?

It's quite easy not to notice weight gain in your dog. Beyond weighing them, there's a simple test you can do thats called Body Condition Scoring and is really useful to help you figure out if your pet is the right weight.

PDSA Vet Nurse Nina Downing explains:

“When you stroke your pet you should be able to just feel your pet’s ribs and spine under their skin, but they shouldn’t be sticking out. If you have to press down to feel them, then your pet is probably overweight."

A healthy body shape for a dog, should have an ‘hourglass figure’ when viewed from above.Your dog should tuck in at the waist. Something that can be trickier to see in very fluffy dogs, to combat this you’ll need to smooth down their fur to see if they have this shape underneath.

Simple tips that can help your dog to banish the belly

Weigh out their food

Each day weigh out the daily allowance of food, following the feeding guidelines on the packaging, or your vet’s advice.

Set a daily allowance for treats

If your pet’s used to treats, take a small handful of their daily allowance of kibble and put it to one side to use instead of treats.

Watch out for hidden calories

Chews sold to prevent dental disease can significantly increase your dog’s calorie intake. Brushing teeth twice a day is much more effective and has significantly less calories!

Increase their exercise

It’s important to ensure your dog stay active – whatever the weather. Dogs need at least one walk a day, but if they’re very over weight it’s much better to do shorter but more frequent walks. 

Get more information and guidance

For more helpful tips and guidance, visit PDSA’s website www.pdsa.org.uk/healthypets which has a handy guide for owners to check their pet’s body shape, including helpful pictures on how to check dogs, cats and rabbits.