How to tell if your dog is overweight

Dogs need proper physical stimulation to stay healthy and active. They live on meat and have heavy diets. But if they don’t get to burn their calories properly, there is a chance that they will gain significant weight and become obese.

Dogs gaining weight are similar to human beings gaining weight. It happens primarily due to inactivity and can result in several health issues. In 2018, the US Pet Obesity Survey declared that 55.8 percent of dogs in the United States are overweight. This number is alarmingly high. Your dog could also be overweight. It is always better to detect obesity at an earlier stage to help you prevent it.

Health issues

Several health issues can arise due to obesity. Some major health concerns are given below:

  • Increased blood pressure
  • Heart diseases
  • Joints and bones could get damaged
  • Diabetes
  • Trouble in breathing
  • Minimum to no stamina
  • Liver diseases
  • Poor functioning of the liver
  • Weak immunity
  • Digestive issues
  • Higher risk of cancer
  • Life span decreases
  • Skin diseases
  • Lighter coat

The length of this list shows how dangerous obesity could be for your dog. Therefore, it is always recommended that you carefully regulate your dog’s diet. If you notice obesity, you can control it early on by reducing food intake and increasing exercise.

Ways to tell if your dog is overweight

You can predict obesity in dogs at an early age. It is important for youy to know the signs of obesity to help you detect it. You can then help your dog and prevent problems in the future. You can easily change the lifestyle of your dog to control obesity.

Here are the significant signs that help us tell if our dog is overweight or not:

Body shape

This one isn’t a surprise. Humans also notice overweight or obesity through the shape of their bodies. Therefore, if your dog is getting fat, his body shape will visibly start to change and swell. The change might not be that visible in the beginning due to your dog’s coat. But you can make her sit and look at her from the above to help you correctly judge your dog’s shape. If your dog has an oval-shaped body, he is either fat or about to get fat. Thus, it is time to cut down some calories.



One way to tell if your dog is obese is to feel his ribcage. An overweight dog will have layers of fat on his ribcage, which will make it hard to touch the ribcage. You will have to search for the ribs. But if your dog is fit and healthy, his ribs will be prominent and easy to feel.

Your dog’s waist

The waist of a healthy dog is tight and not overly large. Obese dogs usually have tummies that sag down. They will also have an oval shape. Make your pup sit and observe him from both sides to get an idea of how overweight he is. Any extra fat on the tummy likely indicates that your dog is obese.


Fat pads or fat sacks

A dog who is about to become obese will have fat pads or sacks on his body. These are usually situated on the legs. You will notice them wiggling (like jelly!) whenever your dog runs or walks. Besides that, you can also touch them to feel the extra soft fat on the body of your dog. Fat pads can also be found on the hips of dogs. You can feel them while playing with your little buddy. It is crucial to look for fat sacks or pads as they are an early sign of obesity and can help you prevent the worst of it. Keep observing your dog carefully. 

The behavior of your dog

The behavior of an obese dog is entirely different from that of a healthy dog. Dogs who are obese become lazy. They stop interacting and playing with you. You will notice them sleeping more often. They will also tire easily, from as little as a short run or walk. Obesity can completely overturn your pup’s regular routine. Your dog might develop breathing issues and may start breathing or panting excessively after every playtime or run. Hence, your dog’s behavior is an easy indicator of weight gain. Behavioral changes are very noticeable, so note down every shift in your dog’s attitude and start making a plan. 


Check the weight

Take your dog to the vet and ask him to weigh your dog. Your vet will tell you if your dog is overweight, underweight, or fit. Weight gain looks different on different breeds, so your vet is your best option for knowing if your dog is obese or not. You cannot use hard and fast rules. Talk to your vet in detail and tell him what you are expecting or experiencing. You can brief him about your pup’s behavior and help you remove any suspicion or doubt.


Overweight and obesity are extremely dangerous for dogs. You should take every step to revert or prevent it, to save your dog from worse diseases. You can ask your vet to devise a diet plan for your dog. If your dog is a foodie, you can introduce vegetables to his diet. You can also start making his food at home to control what goes into his tummy. Make sure you research everything before feeding anything to your dog. Other than that, make sure your dog is following an exercise plan.

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