Weight management
for dogs

Is your dog overweight?
Don’t take it lightly.

Many of us don’t realise that our dog is overweight because it often happens gradually over time. Even though it’s happening right in front of you, a few grams here and there can add up to some serious health issues.


Being as little as 10% overweight can greatly increase the risks associated with serious health conditions


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How to tell if your dog is overweight

Your dog may look just fine, but the ideal weight varies by size and breed. Your veterinarian will be able to tell you if your dog is overweight.

Signs that your dog may be overweight include:

  • Loss of an obvious waist
  • Collar needs loosening
  • Slower movement
  • Shortness of breath
  • Bad temper

Check your dog’s weight now

Between check-ups, you can still assess if your dog is maintaining a healthy weight. Place your hand on their side, and if the ribs are hard to feel or even impossible to feel, they’re likely overweight.

Signs your pet is emaciated:

The ribs, spine and hip bones are visible from a distance, and there is no discernible body fat.

Signs your pet is healthy weight:

The ribs can be easily felt without excess fat, and you can see the waist behind the ribs from above. Abdominal tuck is present.

Signs your pet is overweight:

You can’t feel ribs because they are covered in fat. Large fat deposits are over the neck, chest, spine and base of tail. Both waist and abdominal tuck are absent.

Still not sure?

Take our L.O.V.E. test to find out. You’ll even receive a personalised weight report for your pet to share with your vet.

Check Your Pet

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Why being overweight matters

Even if you’ve noticed your dog is carrying a few extra kilos, you may not realise how much it can affect their health. Being as little as 10% overweight can greatly increase the risks associated with serious health conditions, such as diabetes mellitus, arthritis, urinary stones or heart disease.

Excess weight can also significantly shorten their life expectancy compared to a healthy pet.



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What causes weight gain in dogs?

Weight gain is the result of an increase in body fat. This is usually caused by eating too much, especially when combined with a lack of exercise. But there can be other contributing factors, too.



Older dogs are often less active and require fewer calories, which makes nutrition formulated for their age vital to their weight and overall health.



Different dog breeds can have different metabolisms, which means some breeds are more likely to become overweight.

Dog with shield

Neutering / Spaying

Clinical studies have shown that the energy requirements of neutered dogs are lower, and they require fewer calories.


Medical Problems

Very occasionally, weight gain is associated with a medical disorder that may require specific treatment.

Food bowl


Consuming more calories than necessary can contribute to weight gain. This can be due to unlimited or inconsistent portions of food.

Dog with bowl

Feeding Habits

Feeding table scraps and “people food,” or too many treats, can lead to obesity.

See what those foods really mean for your pet

Try Our Pet Calorie Converter

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Helping your dog lose weight

As well as feeding your dog the correct nutrition, promoting regular exercise will help maintain a healthy weight. Here are a few workout tips and exercises you and your dog can do together.

Dog with chew toy

Toys and games

Who says exercise has to be a hassle? Your dog can also get a dose of exercise by playing a quick game of fetch or tug-of-war. If you want to mix things up, try building an obstacle course or teaching them a new trick.

Dog outside next to parent

Walking or jogging

Even a casual walk through nature every day can help your dog burn calories and stimulate their senses. Mix in some jogging or running to increase your pet’s heart rate.

Dog outside next to pet parent


Taking a swim is a great low-impact exercise for humans and dogs alike, making it a great option for older pets. Visit the local beach or lake to let your dog get wet and wild.

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Picking the right dog food for weight management

The food your dog eats directly affects their overall health and wellbeing. Balanced nutrition is an essential part of an active, healthy lifestyle. Too many snacks can cause weight gain.

Ask your vet about Hill’s line of weight management foods to help your dog maintain a lean body condition as well as a healthy & active lifestyle.

Dog with face in food bowl

Related products for healthy pets prone to weight gain

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Resources and Tips

For more information on your dog’s condition — and to help provide them with the best care possible on the journey ahead — check out these helpful resources from our team of veterinarians.

Put your overweight dog on the road to recovery

If your dog is already having trouble with weight problems, there are plenty of things you can do to improve their condition.

See Wellness Options

Not sure which weight loss options are right for your dog?

Find a Vet