Is my dog fat?
Dog obesity is not a rare disease: between 20 and 40% of dogs in Spain suffer from this chronic disease that causes serious health problems in pets. Five simple questions will help you determine how much fat your dog accumulates at home. You just need to answer them honestly while exploring your pet with your hands. This simple test will guide you to recognize an obese dog in time.
Recognizing an obese dog
The first question to recognize an obese dog is how to determine the amount of fat that our pet has excess. An obese dog is one whose body weight exceeds by 20% the appropriate kilos that correspond to it based on the breed, sex and age of the animal. Excess weight can cause serious health problems and shorten your pet’s longevity.
Although there are very reliable methods to measure excess lipids in humans, such as techniques that use ultrasound, these procedures are still hardly applied with dogs. “The most common and practical method to determine the amount of body fat in dogs is through palpation,” says veterinarian Manuel Lázaro.
An examination of the dog’s chest and abdomen with the help of the hands will help you to determine approximately the fat that the dog accumulates.
Touch allows you to differentiate if the dog is obese, overweight or, on the contrary, if it has the appropriate kilos for its breed, age and sex (ideal weight). At the opposite extreme are thin or very thin animals, underweight. Five simple questions, in test form, will help you to determine at home through palpation the amount of fat in the dog. And to recognize, in time, an obese animal.
First question: Are the ribs well visible to the naked eye?
If the answer is yes, and therefore the ribs, vertebrae, and pelvic bones are visible to the naked eye, the dog is well under its proper weight. It is a very thin animal. The dog needs special care that includes a specific diet to help him regain the lost weight. In a very thin animal, the waist can be seen with the naked eye, and when you feel its body, nothing of fat is differentiated. In the case of extreme thinness, a visit to the vet helps to detect the causes and effectively tackle the problem.
Second question. Is the waist still visible from above?
When the ribs are visible to the naked eye, but less markedly than in the previous case, it is a thin dog. Palpation of the thorax and abdomen of the thin animal allows a minimum amount of fat to be felt, somewhat greater than in the very thin animal, but not enough.
A look from above at the body of the animal, to analyze its profile, makes it possible to clearly differentiate the hip and waist of the dog. A lean dog needs to gain some weight, so it should be given a specific diet to help it achieve this.
Third question. The ribs are indistinguishable but palpable?
When the ribs of the animal are not differentiated with the naked eye but are easily perceived through touch, it is a sign that our pet’s body fat is adequate for its breed, age and sex. The animal is at its ideal weight. The waist is marked but its bones are not distinguishable. A closer look at the animal reveals the profile of the waist, although in a slight way. The abdomen is hidden but not as pronounced as in thin and very thin dogs.
Fourth question. Is the dog’s abdomen rounded?
When the animal’s profile acquires rounded shapes, we are faced with an overweight dog that begins to accumulate lipids that it does not need in its body. The ribs are not visible to the naked eye. They are also not clearly noticeable by touch: there is a thin layer of fat between our hand and the dog’s bones. The abdomen of an overweight animal drops and becomes slightly rounded.
Viewed from above, the obese dog’s profile takes on a rounded, concave shape. And you can even notice skin folds that begin to fall due to the weight of the fat concentrated in the adipose tissues.
These folds are more visible when the dog runs or walks, since they swing to the sides with the movement of our pet. In this situation, it is advisable to take measures. Adopting an adequate diet early to reduce the weight of the animal is an appropriate measure, which should be accompanied by an increase in the dog’s physical activity.
Fifth question. Can’t touch the waist?
The dog’s ribs cannot be felt with the hands, and the waist is not felt either: we are dealing with an obese dog. The vertebrae of a fat animal are difficult to perceive through touch since they are protected by a noticeable layer of fat. The obese dog’s abdomen is undoubtedly rounded. The fat that accumulates in its tissues hangs noticeably, and the folds of the abdomen sway with wide movements when the animal runs.
The health problems caused by obesity in dogs make a change in the dog’s eating habits urgent. The diet should be aimed at reducing the weight of the animal. And your physical activity should be increased gradually.