Weight gain is a risk for many older dogs as they tend to be less active—i.e. they don’t burn the calories they once did. And an age-related decrease in metabolism may play a role as well. You can tell if your dog is overweight by assessing their body condition. Looking at them from above, they should have a waist behind their ribs, and from the side, their tummy should tuck up and their ribs should just be visible. If you’re unsure, ask your vet to assess your dog’s body condition.
Obesity not only exacerbates health issues like arthritis, but it can also increase the risk of other complications such as heart disease. So, it’s important to take it seriously. However, no dog is about to put themselves on a diet. Speak to your vet about your senior dog’s daily calorie requirements and adjust feeding amounts or the choice of diet accordingly. Also, ask about exercise options appropriate for your dog’s overall health.