Steven Leshem, DVM, is board certified in veterinary surgery and has considerable experience in neurosurgery, soft tissue surgery, and orthopedic surgery. As a veterinary surgeon at Veterinary Specialists of Connecticut, Steven Leshem, DVM, helps repair joint and tendon damage to help animals live longer, fuller lives.

One way to ensure your pet stays in optimum health is to manage his or her weight appropriately. Extra weight puts additional strain on a dog’s joints, making it more painful for him or her to move and exercise. To evaluate your dog’s weight, you should look for three physical markers. First, you should be able to feel the ribs of the dog through a thin layer of fat. Second, you should be able to see the dog’s waist, located between the rib cage and the hips, when looking at the animal from above. Third, you should see an “abdominal tuck,” meaning the stomach is higher than the ribs, when looking at the dog from the side.

Another factor to consider when evaluating a dog’s weight is how much he or she is pooping. One decent-size poop per day is normal, according to Dr. James St. Clair, director of TopDog Animal Health and Rehabilitation. Two or more poops every day probably means the animal is eating too much food, and you should cut back on how much you offer.