6 Signs Your Dog is Overweight

6 Signs Your Dog Is Overweight

It’s very easy to overfeed your dog. They love to scarf down their dinner. They’ll still look to you for treats between meals. Using treats for training can all add up to extra calories, too.

About half of the dogs in the United States are overweight, but it may be hard to recognize when your dog is overweight. This is why we’ve put together a list of six signs your dog is overweight. If you’ve been thinking your dog can stand to lose a few pounds, keep reading below.

Causes of Obesity in Dogs

There are a number of things that cause obesity in dogs. The great news is that most of these problems can be fixed. Some causes of obesity in dogs include:

  • Overeating – You’re simply giving your dog too much food, or feeding them too many times per day. Many owners also think a dog needs access to food all day long. That access can cause obesity.
  • Not Enough Exercise – If your dog is not getting outside and burning their energy, they’ll likely start putting on weight.
  • Spaying or Neutering – When a dog is neutered, their metabolism drops. This doesn’t mean that a dog has to be overweight, but it is something to watch out for.
  • Breed – Some breeds are simply more prone to being overweight. Some breeds that are known for easily putting on weight include Labs, Dachshunds and Beagles.
  • Poor Health – Some dogs simply have a slow metabolism. Some also have health conditions that make exercise more difficult. If you’ve tried reducing your dog’s food consumption and they are still putting on weight, it’s a good idea to seek the advice of your vet.

6 Signs Your Dog is Overweight

Now that we know what causes a dog to be overweight, lest take a look at the six signs your dog is overweight.

You Can’t Feel Their Ribs

Your dog should have a little bit of fat over their ribs, but the ribs had better not disappear. If you touch your dog’s chest, you should be able to feel their ribs. The same goes for their hips as well. Give your dog a good once over to make sure you can feel their major bones.

No Defined Shape

There are so many different dog breeds that there is no “normal” shape. In general, your dog should have a defined chest, stomach and waist. If your dog looks like a sausage, they’ve probably put on too much weight.

Feel their chest. Make sure you can feel their ribs. Check if their stomach is flabby. Feel about their hind quarters. You should be able to feel a small fat deposit over their hips, but their hips shouldn’t disappear.

Hard to Groom Themselves

This one should be obvious. If your dog tried to groom themselves but has a hard time reaching around their body, they are overweight. Aside from other medical complications or injuries, a dog should be able to get to pretty much every part of their body for grooming.

Can’t Breathe

If your dog is panting a lot, they may be overweight. This is especially the case if it is not hot outside or if they haven’t been exerting themselves. Try taking your dog on a walk and see how long it takes for them to start panting. If you can only make it down the front sidewalk, it might be time to hit the gym.


Many dogs who are overweight have digestive issues. Your dog may be going too much or too little. They may also be gassy. If you start noticing your dog having digestive issues, you should talk to your vet.

Hard Time Moving

Dogs are naturally active animals. If your dog has stopped moving around or will only move for short periods of time, you had better help them build their endurance.

What to Do About an Obese Dog?

If you find that your dog has checked some of these boxes, what do you do? Step one is to make an appointment with your vet. There will be able to work with you to make a plan to get your dog back in shape.

Just like when a person decides to lose weight, really all you can do is consume less calories and expend more. Your vet will be able to give you good ideas for how to successfully cut your dog’s caloric intake. They’ll give you ideas on how you can make sure your dog is getting the exercise they need.

An overweight dog isn’t the end of the world, but your dog will be happier and healthier for longer if they get into shape. Make your dog’s health a priority and it might just help you get off the couch too.