How to Tell if Your Dog is a Good Weight
You feed them good food and tasty natural snacks. You walk them at least twice a day and frequently go on adventures like running, cycling and hiking together. You may even know exactly how much they weigh right down to the last gram. . . but how do you know your dog’s weight is a good weight for their frame?
Ideal Weight Varies by Breed
Not all dogs are built the same. From the tiny Chihuahua to the giant 10 stone mastiff, each breed varies in muscle mass, skeletal size and coat density. These all contribute to the average weight for each breed.
The Kennel Club assigns a breed standard for weight and size and vets see a huge variability even within individual breeds.
Instead of fixing on the number on the scale, a more objective way to determine your dog’s ideal weight is to focus on their Body Condition An “ideal” body condition mean that a dog has ribs that you can easily feel but not see. They have a notable narrowing at the waist, both from the side and from above. Even "blocky" breeds like bulldogs and pugs, despite thick shoulders and chests, should have a discernible waistline.
He’s Not Fat, He’s Fluffy!
Many times I’ve heard about a client taking their dog to the groomer. They think their dog is a good healthy weight until the groomer clips off a large amount of hair and hey presto! The dog has an almost instant weight transformation! What the owner thought was merely extra fluff and hair coat was actually large fat stores that had subtly enlarged over time.
“I didn’t think he was that overweight!”
This can work in the opposite direction too. Thick, dense coats can mask weight loss over time.
A quick home test to determine if your fluffy dog is a good weight is to run your palms along the side of his or her rib cage, just behind their front legs. If you can feel the contours of the ribs with your palms, (and do not have to use your fingers to push through fat deposits to feel the ribs), then your dog is likely an appropriate weight. If you can feel sharp edges of protruding ribs with your palms alone, your dog might be too thin.
Keeping your dog at a healthy weight for their whole life is crucial for long-term wellness. Excess weight can accelerate the development of arthritis in their limbs and make them more prone to orthopaedic injuries, skin diseases and even diabetes. I encourage you to do them a favour and regularly check them and adjust their meal portions and sizes accordingly. Of course monitor their weight and get them to a Vet if you notice unexplained weight gain or loss. This will help keep them healthier and happier long into their senior years!