You may notice that your new dog still has a pudgy belly, but it can’t be baby fat. You may see other parents at puppy play dates call your dog “the big guy” or “roly poly.” Swifto knows that a little pudge on a puppy is adorable, but a life of obesity often leads to arthritis, diabetes, heart, or breathing problems. You can tell if your puppy is overweight by examining their musculature and giving them a few pets. An overweight dog will have no visible waist when seen from above, and their rib and hip bones won’t be felt by your hands when petting your dog. Note that if your puppy has a bloated stomach, but his rib and hip bones are showing, your puppy may have a worm or parasite. You can also weigh your puppy, or have a veterinarian weigh your dog, and compare them to the accepted average weights for dogs:
Toy dogs - 3 to 12 lbs.
Small Dogs - 12 to 30 lbs.
Medium Dogs - 30 to 55 lbs.
Large Dogs - 55 to 80 lbs.
Extra Large Dogs - 80 to 110 lbs.
Once you’ve determined your puppy is overweight, there are a few simple things you can do to help them shed extra pounds: Switch to a low calorie treat, switch to fruit and/or vegetables as treats, and/or try to reward your dog with physical and verbal affection instead of food more often. Change either the type or amount of food you're feeding your puppy. High protein foods sometimes cause weight gain but so can high carb foods, so a balanced diet is best. Weight management foods are controversial, so do your homework and draw your own conclusions. Puppies do need more protein and fatty acids because they’re growing more than adult dogs. Get a checkup to determine that your puppy doesn’t have Cushing’s disease or Hypothyroidism. Research your dog’s breed and ask questions about maintaining a healthy weight if your dog’s breed is prone to being overweight. Add to your exercise routine. Your puppy may start to lose weight with just ten more minutes of walking a day, or an increase in the pace of their walk. Puppy owners may need to get more creative. It doesn’t hurt to figure out games or buy toys that will engage your puppy and get them moving even when their owner is away. With help from a veterinarian, and a savvy dog walker, getting a puppy down to a healthy weight is easy. It’s important to establish healthy eating habits and a healthy weight while your dog is young, that way it will be easier for them to maintain a healthy weight later on in life. Cute pictures of your puppy with baby fat are much more fun than an adult dog who needs to lose some weight.