Like humans, obesity in dogs is not uncommon and can lead to health issues later in life. Osteoporosis, diabetes, and heart disease are all related in some ways to obesity. Recent studies estimate that more than 55% of domestic dogs in the U.S. are overweight. So, if your giant fur baby is a little too giant, you are not alone.
The good news is that obesity can be cured with proper diet and exercise. The real key is to monitor your Dane’s weight regularly to note signs of obesity before it gets out of hand.
So how can you tell if your Great Dane is overweight? Here are five quick tips to tell if your Dane needs to shed a few pounds:
1) Body Shape
One of the easiest ways to determine if your Dane is overweight is to look closely at their body shape. When standing above and behind your Dane you should see a clearly defined waist toward the hips and a straight build down the sides.
When viewing your dog from the side you should see a waistline that rises up from the chest and is clearly defined at the hips. If instead, you see a sagging, pendulous belly and no clearly defined waistline, it might be time to put Fido on a weight-loss program.
2) Feel For Their Ribs
A fit dog should not have a clearly visible rib cage, but you should be able to easily feel their ribs with relatively light pressure. If you find yourself having to press down hard to feel their ribs, or if you can’t feel the ribs at all, it’s time to get on the hotline with Jenny Craig.
3) Observe Your Dane’s Behavior
If your Dane is spending more time than usual lounging like a couch potato and is difficult to motivate, this could be a sign of obesity. If he appears to have trouble walking and moving about, becomes tired quickly, or has difficulty getting up from a prone position, you should visit your vet to see if obesity is the cause.
4) Feel For Fat Deposits
Like humans dogs store fat in various places throughout their bodies. Some will have fatty abdomens, while others will have fat deposits on their hips. Some dogs will even have fat deposits between their legs that will cause them to waddle when they walk. Palpate your Dane’s stomach, hips, and thighs to see if there is excess blubber. If there is, this is a clear sign of obesity.
5) Weigh In At The Vet
Probably the most accurate way to determine if your Dane is overweight is with a visit to the veterinarian. The vet should always weigh your dog on every visit and can quickly determine if their weight is beyond acceptable limits. For adult male Danes, ideal weights should fall between 140lbs to 170lbs. For adult females, the range is closer to 110lbs to 140lbs.
Bear in mind that all Danes are different and it is not unheard of for a healthy adult male to reach 180lbs or more. Your veterinarian will use actual weight, body shape, and other observations to help you determine if your Dane is eating too much.