- You can’t feel those ribs
You should be able to feel your dog’s ribs fairly easily with just a bit of ‘padding’ (muscle and fat) on them. If you can’t find them without pushing through layers of pudge – your dog is probably overweight.
- No definition
While all breeds have different body shapes, every dog should have some amount of definition. They should have a chest, a stomach and a ‘waist.’ If you can’t see these because your dog looks like a sausage with legs, it’s diet time. (Yes, this includes breeds like the Dachshund that are actually sausage shaped).
- Can’t groom himself
Does your dog struggle to reach around to groom or scratch himself? Barring other medical or physical constrains, your dog should be able to do this with ease. If he can’t, it’s time to hit the gym!
- Trouble breathing
If your dog seems to pant a lot – even when it’s not hot, it could be due to excessive weight. (As long as you have already ruled out stress). Notice how long your dog can walk until he starts panting hard. A dog that gets out of breath quick is out of shape (and probably a bit chubby too!).
- Trouble getting around
A dog should be able to get up and down easily and move quickly – as they are a naturally athletic species. Again, barring any medical issues, if your dog is having trouble getting up after lying down, or can’t jump on the couch, he has too much weight on his body.
Dogs that are overweight also tend to have gas and other digestive issues, including constipation. If your dog has tummy issues, he may need to lose some weight and you should talk to your vet to make sure he is on the right type of diet for his age, health, and activity levels.