How To Tell If Your Dog Is Overweight

As a dog owner, it is important to ensure that your furry friend is healthy and happy. One way to ensure this is by maintaining their weight within the recommended range. However, with so many treats and human food scraps being handed out, it can be difficult to tell if your dog is overweight or not. In this article, we will explore some of the signs that indicate your dog may be carrying a few extra pounds and what you can do about it.


– Understanding healthy weight for dogs
– Signs that your dog is overweight
– Health risks associated with overweight dogs
– Strategies for helping your dog lose weight
– Tips for maintaining a healthy weight

Understanding Healthy Weight for Dogs

Before we dive into how to tell if your dog is overweight, let’s first understand what constitutes a healthy weight for dogs. This can vary depending on factors such as breed, age, and activity level. Generally speaking, a healthy weight falls within the range of 18-25% body fat for most breeds. However, larger breeds such as Great Danes may have a lower percentage while smaller breeds like Chihuahuas may have a higher percentage.

To determine if your dog falls within the healthy weight range, you can perform a simple test at home. First, run your hands along their ribcage. You should be able to feel their ribs without having to apply too much pressure. Next, look down at them from above. They should have a visible waistline behind their ribcage and their abdomen should tuck up towards their hips.

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Signs That Your Dog Is Overweight

Now that we know what constitutes a healthy weight for dogs let’s take a look at some signs that may indicate your dog is carrying extra weight.

1. Lack of Waistline: If your dog appears to be round in shape rather than having an hourglass figure with a defined waistline behind their ribcage, then they may be overweight.

2. Difficulty Moving: If your dog struggles to move around or tires easily during exercise, this could be a sign that they are carrying too much weight.

3. Difficulty Breathing: Overweight dogs may have difficulty breathing, especially when exercising or in hot weather.

4. Joint Problems: Carrying extra weight puts extra stress on your dog’s joints, which can lead to arthritis and other joint problems.

5. Excessive Fat: If you can’t feel your dog’s ribs when you run your hands along their ribcage, or if there is an excess of fat around their neck, shoulders, and hips, then they may be overweight.

Health Risks Associated with Overweight Dogs

Being overweight can put your dog at risk for a number of health problems. These include:

1. Diabetes: Overweight dogs are more likely to develop diabetes than those within the healthy weight range.

2. Heart Disease: Extra weight puts additional strain on your dog’s heart, which can lead to heart disease.

3. Respiratory Problems: As mentioned earlier, overweight dogs may have difficulty breathing, which can lead to respiratory problems.

4. Joint Issues: Carrying extra weight puts extra stress on your dog’s joints, which can lead to arthritis and other joint issues.

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5. Cancer: Studies have shown that overweight dogs are at increased risk for certain types of cancer.

Strategies for Helping Your Dog Lose Weight

If you suspect that your dog is overweight or obese, there are several strategies you can use to help them lose weight and maintain a healthy weight.

1. Adjust Their Diet: Start by adjusting their diet to reduce calorie intake. This may mean switching to a low-calorie food or simply reducing the amount of food you give them each day.

2. Increase Exercise: Increasing the amount of exercise your dog gets each day will help them burn more calories and lose weight faster. Try taking them for longer walks or playing more games of fetch.

3. Limit Treats: Treats are a common culprit when it comes to weight gain in dogs. Limit the number of treats you give your dog each day and opt for healthier options like carrots or apples.

4. Consult with Your Vet: Your veterinarian can help you create a weight loss plan tailored specifically to your dog’s needs. They may also recommend medications or supplements to aid in weight loss.

Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Weight

Once your dog has reached their healthy weight, it’s important to maintain it. Here are some tips for doing so:

1. Monitor Their Caloric Intake: Continue monitoring their caloric intake and adjust as needed to maintain their weight.

2. Continue Exercise: Keep up with regular exercise to ensure that your dog is burning enough calories to maintain their healthy weight.

3. Weigh Them Regularly: Weigh your dog regularly to ensure that they are maintaining their healthy weight range.

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4. Treat Them Sparingly: Continue limiting the number of treats you give them each day and avoid high-calorie options.


In conclusion, maintaining a healthy weight is crucial for your dog’s overall health and wellbeing. By understanding what constitutes a healthy weight range, recognizing the signs of overweight, and implementing strategies for weight loss, you can help ensure that your furry friend stays happy and healthy for years to come. Remember, if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or health, consult with your veterinarian for personalized advice and guidance.