It can sometimes be difficult to tell if your dog is overweight, but there are a few signs that you should look out for. Excess weight places extra stress on the joints and increases the risk of arthritis. Obesity in dogs can also cause breathing problems and even heart disease. This article will discuss 6 signs of canine obesity so that you know when it might be time to talk to your vet about weight loss options for your pup!
1. Excessive Panting
If your dog is panting excessively, it could mean that they are experiencing discomfort caused by excess weight. Dogs that struggle to get enough oxygen to their organs might pant.
Panting is also a sign of heat exhaustion and obesity can lead to increased body temperature. Therefore, be sure your dog is being adequately cooled.
If your dog is only panting occasionally, be sure to monitor when and the possible triggers. Then, be sure to share this information with your dog’s vet.
2. Difficulty Breathing
Another sign of dog obesity includes difficulty breathing. Many dogs start having trouble with their lungs when they are overweight because the weight is putting pressure on them which causes a problem in how air moves through your dog’s body.
Your vet might recommend that you take your pup to physical therapy for things like underwater treadmill sessions or other exercises at an animal hospital.
3. Lack of Energy and Lethargy
Dogs who are obese may struggle with lack of energy. Lethargy is a sign that your dog is not getting enough exercise.
If you notice this symptom, encourage walks in the morning and after lunch to increase their energy levels during the day. You can also try walking them more than usual or taking advantage of off-leash areas where your pup has plenty of room to run around.
Of course, if your dog is not used to exercising, start with small walks and work your way up.
4. Arthritis in the Joints or Hips
Pain is another symptom of dog obesity. If your dog is experiencing pain in its hips or joints, it may be related to the excess weight. Your vet may suggest an arthritis medication as the first line of treatment for temporary relief and see if there are any improvements before making more drastic changes.
One thing you can do to help ease joint pain is by adding a few more steps to your routine. Your dog will need to be eased into this. At the same time, restricting treats and measuring their kibble will help cut the calories and provide relief to their overtaxed joints.
5. Skin Problems
Skin problems seem unrelated to canine obesity, but it is not. Here are some skin problems are seen with some dogs suffering from obesity:
- Scratching: Scratching is a behavior seen with both overweight dogs and those who are not, but it’s more likely for an obese dog to be scratching because of the irritation caused by their skin rubbing against itself.
- Skin Infections or Allergies: Dogs living in high-stress environments or are overweight tend to struggle more with skin infections and allergies.
6. Decreased or Increased Appetite
Dogs who are obese and have changes to their appetite are experiencing a change in their metabolism. This is something to be mindful of and share with your vet because it can be a sign of other health problems.
Small Changes Lead to Big Changes
Just like humans, dogs who need to lose weight benefit from small changes in their diet and exercise habits. So, start easy by adding an extra walk a day and a little less food to their meals.
Your dog’s health is important. Be sure to talk to your vet before making any big changes to your dog’s diet and to rule out any serious medical conditions.