Is Your Dog Overweight?
Often with the New Year, we try to stick with our New Year’s resolutions; a common resolution is to lose weight and get in shape. Did you ever wonder if you might need to include your four-legged friend in this resolution? PetPartners, Inc., the provider of the AKC Pet Healthcare Plans, often sees many claims related to obesity in dogs, and in many cases, these claims are avoidable.
How do you determine if your four- legged friend needs to shed a few pounds? There are several things you can take into consideration when trying to answer this question. Veterinarians often use a 9- point scoring system to evaluate the body condition of pets. A point value of 1 means the dog is extremely thin to the point of emaciation. A score of 9 means the pet is grossly overweight. A score of 5 is ‘just right’. To determine body score, there are several specific areas of the dog to consider. Remember these are general guidelines.
Areas to observe on your Dog:
Ribs: Feel your dogs ribs: you should be able to quite easily feel the ribs. There should be a slight amount of fat over them, but each rib should be distinct. If you can see the ribs, the pet is too thin. If you can’t feel them at all, the pet is very overweight.
Base of the tail: There should be a slight amount of fat covering over this area and it should feel smooth. If the bones protrude, the pet is too thin; if you can’t feel any bones at all, the pet is very overweight.
Spine, Shoulder and Hips: These are considered the bony prominences on your dog; again you should be able to feel a small amount of fat over these areas. If these bones are easily felt or visible, the dog or cat is too thin. If you can’t feel the bones beneath the layer of fat, the animal is obviously overweight.
Glance down at your dog from above: Your dog should have a definite waist behind the ribs. If the waist is extreme, or again, bony prominences are visible, the animal is too thin. If there is no waist, or worse yet, the area between the ribs and hips is wider than the hips or ribs, your dog is grossly overweight.
Please see the below chart:
Remember the above references are guidelines, if you feel your dog is overweight, consult your veterinarian. Your veterinarian will be able to determine if there are any medical problems causing the increased weight and will be able to suggest the best weight reduction program for your dog.