Whole Dog Journal Tips August 1, 2011

(Managing Your Dog’s Weight #3) - Is Your Dog Overweight?

Whatever the definition and true statistics are for overweight and obese dogs, obesity is the most common nutritional disorder in dogs, and many practitioners feel it is today’s number one health danger for dogs. According to existing statistical evidence, the increased incidence of obesity (in both dogs and humans) has dramatically risen only over the past 10 years or so.

Dogs tend to put on fat over their shoulders, ribs, and hips and around the tail head. You should be able to feel individual ribs and the space between each rib, and the shoulder blades, hips, and tail head should be readily palpable.

Since folks tend not to notice just how fat they or their animals are, it’s probably a good idea to get an unbiased opinion – check with your vet, and ask for an honest fat appraisal. One caveat here: It may be best to have a thin and fit vet do the evaluating; out-of-shape vets might also tend to overlook fatness in their patients, and they will almost certainly minimize the importance of exercise for overall health.

For more details and advice on ways to manage your dog's weight, purchase Whole Dog Journal’s ebook, Weight & Fitness Handbook .