Your dog's wasitline
Does your dog have a waistline? They should. All dogs, no matter what breed or mix of breeds should have a waistline. It always amazes that people think certain breeds can carry around more weight than others. A few of the regular pudgy breeds that I see are: Labradors, Pugs, Dachshunds, Beagles, Bulldogs and Cocker Spaniels. But it is not limited to these guys; I see all kinds of dogs carrying too much weight. From a bit too much around the middle to morbidly obese. No dog should be overweight, not even the ones mentioned above. No matter how long or tall a dog is; they should have a waistline.
Dogs are not tubes, they have shape and the waist should tuck in. Of course it will tuck in differently on each dog; depending on the actual structure of that particular dog. Take Dachshunds for example; these guys already have a tough time getting around with their tiny legs; but for some reason they are allowed to over indulge and carry extra weight. A Dachshund who is lean and muscled is a beautiful thing. Sadly many of them resemble the "wiener dog" label they have been given. Funny, if I see a Dachshund who is lean and fit I am surprised.
Dogs don't get fat on their own, we do it to them. They do not go to the cupboard and pour themselves too much food. They do not choose to sit on the couch all day in lieu of running at the park. No, that is our choice and a fat dog is a sick dog. Being overweight can do a great deal of damage to a dog. Vital organs can be effected by added weight as well as joints. Carrying around extra weight causes a dog to move less which then leads to more weight gain. If they do move around with extra weight they are more prone to serious injury.
An easy way to see if your dog is carrying around a bit much is to look and feel. Stand back and look from the side, do they tuck up? Stand above and look down, do they have a waistline? Now some dogs have extra skin that hangs down between the back leg and chest, take that into account. Feel, can you feel your dogs ribs? You should be able to. It should feel like a thin layer of neoprene over the ribs. If you can just feel ribs and skin then they are too thin. If you can't feel the ribs at all...well, your dog is too fat. If you have a deep chested dog then you should see a substantial waistline. If not then you have work to do, yes you.
Depending on the size of a dog; a mere few pounds can make a big difference. One day as I was carrying Tilley down the stairs and feeling the extra weight in my knees it hit me; if I was 45 lbs heavier this is how I would feel. I struggle with weight constantly; what goes in my mouth is my choice. What goes into Luke and Elsa's mouth is also my choice; it is much easier to keep them lean and healthy. No dog wants to be fat, it is no fun at all. They can run and play like they should be able to; they feel old before their time and their body suffers.
Do the waistline check, look and feel. The big secret to weight loss in dogs is the same for us; eat let, move more.