About 52.5 percent of dogs in the United States are overweight or obese, according to a national survey conducted by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention. If Gromit seems kind of chunky, but you're not sure whether he's considered overweight for his body type, take steps to find out. It can be the difference between having a healthy, active dog and one who's at a higher risk of health conditions, such as hypertension, diabetes, certain cancers and osteoarthritis.
Reflecting on your behavior as well as your dog's can help determine whether he's overweight. If he's eating throughout the day, begging for table scraps while you're eating dinner, or if he chases you when you walk toward the treat cabinet, he may be an over-eater. His chance of being overweight increases if you neglect to exercise him, or if he has a difficult time during physical activities due to the excess weight.
Looking at past photos of Gromit might give you an idea of whether he's gained weight. Touching him also can let you know whether he's overweight. Lightly run your hands along his rib cage. If you easily can feel his ribs, he's in good shape. If you have to add pressure to feel his ribs, he's likely overweight. If you can't feel his ribs at all, he might be severely overweight.
Just like humans, dogs have a healthy minimum and maximum weight range. Your veterinarian can provide the healthy weight range for Gromit's breed. To weigh a small- to medium-size dog, first weigh yourself by standing on a scale. Then, weight yourself again, but this time, hold your dog. The difference between the two is the weight of the dog. If you have a large dog, or if you don't own a scale, visit your veterinarian.
Once you've determined that Gromit is overweight, consult your veterinarian for a professional opinion. He can examine your pet companion to find out whether his weight gain is triggered by a hormone or health problem. He might recommend that you slowly increase Gromit's exercise and that you make dietary changes so he gradually loses weight. Once your veterinarian sets a healthy weight loss goal, regularly record your pet companion's progress to help determine whether the recommended weight-loss regimen is effective.
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