According to the Pet Obesity Network, approximately 56% of dogs in the United States were considered overweight or obese in 2018.

overweight dog

Do You Have An Overweight Dog?

They grow (up) so fast doesn’t just apply to children. One day, our dog looks like a svelte puppy and the next, we’re wondering what went wrong. If you’re looking at your dog and wondering if they are overweight, here are some ways to investigate.

Please keep in mind that every dog and every breed is different. If you are concerned about your dog’s health, we urge you to consult your veterinarian. They have the essential tools (like a dog-sized scale!) and expertise to tell you whether Fido needs to shed a few.

Look At Your Dog’s Body Shape

Just looking at your dog can tell you quite a bit about their health. As a general rule of thumb, most dogs’ bodies should show some curvature and indentation. If your dog is eggplant-shaped, they are likely overweight. Refer to a dog weight chart to learn more about the different levels of dog weight and pinpoint exactly where your dog stands.

Dog Weight Chart

The Purina Body Condition System is a commonly used scoring system that is used by veterinarians and dog experts alike. We think that it provides you with a good starting point when evaluating your dog’s weight.overweight dog weight chart
Please note: The usage of this chart does not indicate Ruff Life’s endorsement of Purina.

Feel Your Dog

This is as simple as it sounds. Take a quick feel along your dog’s torso while referencing the dog weight chart. Pay special attention to their ribs. Can you feel them? And to what extent? If you’re able to grab quite bit of fat or flabby skin, this may indicate that your dog is carrying some extra weight.


Help Your Overweight Dog Lose Weight

#1 Activity

This one should be obvious. Just like humans, dogs are susceptible to gaining weight if they are less active than usual. Life gets busy, we get it. Maybe your dog doesn’t go on as many walks or outdoor hikes as they’re used to. If this is the case, it’s time to find other ways to get them moving like dog agility, dog parks, and playdates.

But, if you’re busy and need a little help, know that Ruff Life ATX is here to help. We even offer a monthly hiking package and playdates with our own Ruff Life pack!

#2 Adjust their food

We’re sure you can guess what comes after exercise… yes, it’s diet!

It’s important to remember that each dog is different, and their dietary needs will vary.

Diet can be such a scary word, so you’re probably thinking you’ll need to cut down your dog’s food drastically. While professionals do recommend reducing a dog’s portion size in some cases, that isn’t always the best answer. Instead, it’s about adjusting what your dog is currently eating.

Take a look at your dog’s food label. Chances are, the food is comprised of 60% (or more!) carbohydrates. In general, when promoting weight loss for your dog, you’ll want to watch their carbohydrate intake.

Some other things to look into…

  • Are the fats they are consuming healthy fats?
  • Do they eat their vegetables daily?
  • Are they gobbling up a lean protein?

While there are many amazing pet food companies on the market, some people have decided that it’s time to make their dog’s food. This gives owners the ability to know exactly what is going into their dog’s bowl and customize precisely how they need to.

Again, every dog is different, so you will want to do your own research and consult your veterinarian with any specific questions.

#3 Adjust their treat or chew regimen

Your dog isn’t the only one who thinks treats and chews are wonderful. They are the perfect reward for a job well done and give you the opportunity to show your dog your love and appreciation.

But, it’s important to think about the type of treat or chew you are giving your dog – especially those that you reward them with every day! 

Treats or chews to avoid include those that are high in fat or junk ingredients. Often times, treats are loaded with unhealthy ingredients in order to entice your pet to gobble them up. Turn over your treat bag and make sure there aren’t any hidden fillers or sugars.

Another pro tip: break your treats into even smaller pieces. Your dog can’t tell the difference!


You don’t need to have an overweight dog. If you’ve gathered anything, it’s this: dogs are a lot like humans. With a healthy diet and exercise, they will lose the necessary lbs in no time!