Maintaining your pet at a healthy weight is vital for their long term good health.
Changes in activity levels, age, sexual maturity, season etc. can all impact on the amount of food your dog needs to maintain a healthy weight.
Observing your dog’s body condition is a vital part of monitoring its health. Luckily, it’s extremely easy to do.
Whilst all dogs are different, and coat type can make a huge difference in what you can see, you can evaluate body condition by:
– Running your hands over the sides of your dog. Can you feel any ribs or are they well covered with fat? Ideally you should be able to feel the rib bones and hips. If they are well covered with fat your dog needs to lose weight.
– Look at your dog from above – do they tuck in nicely at the waist or are they more barrel shaped? All dogs should have a waist (though some may be harder to see due to thick coats). If you can’t see a waist it may be time to reduce your dog’s weight.
– Look at your dog from the side – does its stomach tuck up after it’s ribs or is it rounded? If there is not a definite tuck after the ribs then your dog may need to lose weight.
– Putting your dog on the scales and weighing it at regular intervals will also help you determine whether your dog is gaining or losing weight.
Remember, overweight dogs have an increased chance of numerous health related problems. Maintaining a healthy weight will help reduce joint problems, high blood pressure, risk of diabetes, liver disease, osteoarthritis and lowered immune system. Regularly monitor your dog and help them maintain a healthy weight so they are happy, healthy members of your family for a long time to come.