Weight Management


According to a 2012 survey from the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 53% of dogs are either overweight or obese. That’s 41 million dogs! What’s disheartening is that 46% of dog owners believe their pets’ weight is within the normal range, even when their veterinarians have assessed them as being overweight.


  • Too much food!
  • The wrong type/brand of food
  • Lack of exercise
  • Age
  • Breed
    • Genetics do play a part in weight management
    • Certain breeds are more prone to weight gain/fluctuations, such as Labrador/Golden Retrievers, Cocker Spaniels, Beagles,  Dachshunds, Shetland Sheepdogs, and more.
  • Hormonal disorders
  • Various medical conditions can cause weight gain

It is best to have your pet thoroughly examined by your veterinarian to rule out any medical abnormalities before beginning any diet/exercise plan.

What problems are related to obesity?

  • Arthritis—Excess weight makes the joints prone to premature arthritis
  • Breathing problems – Extra weight places stress on a dog’s heart and lungs, causing them to work harder.
  • Heat/Exercise intolerance – Makes it difficult for the dog to cool off
  • Compromised immune function
  • Dermatological problems affect skin, hair, and coat
  • Increased risk for surgery and anesthesia
  • Creates joint and back problems and makes them more prone to injury

A Purina study showed that dogs that had a restricted diet and were kept at an ideal weight lived an average of 1.8 year longer.

There is a Solution – and We Can Help!

  • Consult your veterinarian – Have your veterinarian perform an examination and rule out any medical conditions.
  • Develop an exercise plan – Our certified canine rehabilitation practitioners can develop an exercise plan to help your dog jump-start his or her metabolism with underwater treadmill therapy and therapeutic exercises.
  • Remember, this is a PROCESS – Crash diets don’t work; this is a lifestyle change. Plan on having your dog lose 1–2% of his or her total body weight per week. Anything more than that is too much, too fast.

How do I know if my dog is overweight?

  • Look for a “tummy tuck up”—From the side, the dog’s belly should be “tucked up” under his ribcage and not even with his or her belly.
  • You should be able to feel each of your dog’s ribs without pressing.
  • Look at your dog from above. You should be able to see his or her waist.

Pet Obesity Prevention offers a helpful chart for your reference.

Michigan's first rehabilitation center.

We are dedicated to providing excellent care.


1490 Lochaven Rd
Waterford, MI 48327
Click here for directions.


Monday - Friday: 8am - 8pm
(By appointment only)
Saturday: 8am - 6pm
(By appointment only)

Contact Info

Phone: 248-363-5061
Fax: (248) 363-1138
Email: rehab@unionlakepets.com

Get in touch!

Ready to come see us?

Request an appointment online! We can't wait to see you and your furry friends.