IS MY DOG FAT?
How to tell where your dog is on the weight spectrum.
WHAT IS YOUR DOG’S IDEAL WEIGHT?
Do you know your dog’s ideal weight? Many people ask what the ideal weight is for their dog, but the truth is there is no magic number for any canine. The best guide you can use to manage your dog’s weight is by watching your dog’s body size and adjusting portions and diet accordingly.
Is your dog underweight?
If you can easily feel your dog’s ribs and hip bones, your dog may be underweight. Look from above though for the easiest tell. Do the top of the hip bones and bottom of rib cage jut out visibly? (If your pup is extra fluffy, it’s easier to tell when they’re wet after a bath, or simply by feeling).
If your dog is underweight, you’ll want to increase their portions slightly (and slowly). But keep a close monitor, because you don’t want to go too much in other direction!
Is your dog the ideal weight?
The easiest way to tell if your dog is the ideal weight is by looking at the definitions of an overweight and underweight dog, and ruling out that your dog is neither. A dog at a healthy weight has a soft outline of their rib cage, and their belly tucks up between their ribs and hind legs.
A general rule of thumb is that, if you can’t easily feel their rib cage and back bone, they are over weight.
Is your dog overweight?
As much as none of us want to admit that our dogs may have a little extra to love, more than half of dogs in the US are overweight – so statistically speaking, this category applies to the majority of our four-legged friends!
An overweight dog will be lacking the noticeable belly tuck that ideal and underweight dogs have. When looking at your dog from above, you may notice a bulge outward between the rib cage and hips (this should gently curve inward on a healthy dog). When feeling the ribs, you’ll notice thicker padding on them.
As much as we love feeding our pups, their being overweight puts them at a higher risk for life-threatening diseases, joint issues, lower energy levels (which means less play-time together!), a lower quality of life, and a shortened life-span. The best thing to do is to notice when our dogs fit in this overweight category and take steps to gradually reduce portion sizes (and stick to them, even when those begging puppy eyes tempt us otherwise!)
Please DO NOT use diet foods or try to starve your pup. Most dogs can lose weight just by cutting out some snacks. If you feed your dog lots of treats, or share some of your food with them, pay close attention to calorie count and back off there before cutting out nutritional food.
Easy tip – If your dog weighs 50 lbs, realize that when you feed them, it would be like 3 times that amount for a 150 lb pound person. A 15 lb dog? 10 times! One small piece of burger for them is like a entire burger for us!
Keeping your dog on fresh, healthy, lower fat foods is going to best. Junky food and treats with excess, useless (“filler”) calories should be avoided. Nutritional, whole foods are best. My dogs Musik eats both raw and cooked veggies for snacks, as well as some fruit. Also, fish, lean meat, and cricket (yes, cricket – see food article for more info) treats are best.
For more info on what is healthy and what is not healthy (hint = all kibble!), read our article on healthy food and treats.