The most important thing you can do for your dog’s health is help them maintain a healthy weight. A dog that is overweight or obese has higher risks of a whole range of diseases and will have a reduced life span.
Most people don’t know if a dog is overweight
80% of drivers think they are better than average! Well, the same overconfidence has also been shown to occur when we think about our pets weight. While 60% of dogs are considered overweight or obese, only 15% of pet parents think their dog is carrying too much weight. That is a huge mismatch.
Vet’s sometime struggle to get the message through
Just as many GP’s won’t raise weight with people, some vets only focus on the specific reason for the visit. Others have learnt to raise it gently as some owners don’t want to accept the news, get offended, and might take their business elsewhere.
Engage with your vet
It is important to at least have an annual check-up for your pup. Your vet should be keeping records of your dogs weight. You should directly ask them about your dog’s weight to give them the opportunity to have an honest conversation. This can also give you a kg target to work to. Other items like dental health checks are essential check-ups.
Learn how to rate your dog’s body yourself
If your vet has given you a kg target then you can regularly measure your dog’s weight at home. The other key is to understand Body Condition Score. This enables you to do a quick visual check to determine where your dog sits on the scale from severely overweight to morbidly obese. The chart below gives you the examples of how a dog looks like at each body condition score. Now of course breeds differ and if you have a fluffy dog you are going to have to rely on feel more than visual cues.
Over or underweight dogs
Now that you know how to asses your dog and have open conversations about their weight with your vet it is time to act to help them get healthier.