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Is Your Dog Overweight? Signs, Symptoms & What to Do

Is Your Dog Overweight? Signs, Symptoms & What to Do

A dog being overweight can seriously impact their health and quality of life over time. In this post, our Toledo veterinarians discuss the signs and symptoms that your dog is overweight and what you can do to help them improve their health!

Signs Your Dog Is Overweight

During routine wellness exams, your veterinarian will typically weigh your dog and perform a full physical examination. This helps the vet spot any unhealthy changes in your dog's body and catch any health concerns before they become serious.

If you aren't sure whether a trip to the vet is called for, here are some signs that will give you a good indication of whether your dog is carrying extra weight.

Your Dog's Fitness Level

Overweight dogs often pant even when walking relatively slowly, and may walk slower or need to take more naps than before.

Feel for Your Dog's Ribs

If your dog is at a healthy weight, you should be able to easily feel their ribs on their sides. Slightly visible ribs could be a sign of being underweight, but this is not true of all breeds. 

See Where Your Dog Fits on the Chart

A healthy dog will have a subtle size difference between their chest and abdomen area, whereas an overweight dog will look consistently the same size across the torso. The following diagram helps illustrate when a dog is overweight:

Overweight dog chart, Memphis Emergency vets

Weight Loss Program

Weight gain can be a symptom of a serious underlying illness, so if you think that your dog is overweight, a trip to the vet is called for.

If your vet determines that your dog has no underlying illnesses causing the weight gain, they will recommend a diet and exercise plan to help get your dog's weight back on track safely.

Below are a few things that your vet may recommend to help your dog get back in shape.

Regular Exercise

Keep to a regular exercise schedule for your dog, including going for walks twice a day and playtime outside once a day. Play can be fetch, tug-of-war, or any game you play with your dog where they are active.


Your vet will be able to calculate how much to feed your dog at each meal and prescribe a low-calorie diet food to help your dog reach a healthier weight. Be sure your dog eats at the same time every day, and that you measure out the portions carefully based on the ideal weight for their breed (or size).


Annual or bi-annual wellness exams allow your vet to monitor your pet's weight and spot the early signs of illness so that conditions can be treated before they become more serious.

If your dog begins following a weight loss plan, visit your vet for follow-up appointments so that your pet's progress can be monitored and dietary adjustments made if necessary

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If you suspect your dog is a bit heavier than they should be, contact our Toledo vets today to book an examination.

Welcoming New Patients

Shoreland Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our veterinary team is passionate about the health of Toledo pets and is looking forward to meeting you and your furry friend. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!

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