Just as it is for us, keeping our dogs within an ideal weight range is important for their health and wellbeing. Overweight dogs are at an increased risk of a number of illnesses and problems with their organs and joints. Being overweight, even by a relatively low proportion, can potentially shorten a dog’s life expectancy. A dog that is losing weight unexpectedly or consistently failing to put weight on despite feeding for weight gain could have one of a number of conditions as an underlying cause. For a wide range of reasons, being aware of a dog’s weight and condition is very important.
To judge whether your dog is under or overweight, you need to know what your dog’s ideal weight is, and how they should look at that weight. Your vet can give you details of the ideal weight range for your dog’s breed type, and it is a good idea to weigh your dog at least a couple of times a year.
Assessing your dog’s physical condition at home takes a few simple steps that can be done regularly to ensure they stay as fit as possible.
- Run your hands over the ribs. They should be easy to feel under the coat. A significant fat covering means action needs to be taken.
- Looking at the dog’s back from above, a definite waist should be visible. If there is a straight line running from the ribs to the hips with no inwards curve, then the dog is overweight.
- Look at the dog from the side. The line of the stomach should lift upwards as it moves towards the back legs. If this line is straight then the dog is overweight.
- Obviously protruding hipbones or visible vertebrae or ribs show that the dog is underweight.