Assessing the Ideal Weight for Your Dog: A Guide for Owners

Maintaining an active lifestyle and good health for your four-legged friend is crucially important. As an owner, you play a key role in monitoring this aspect of their well-being. Key aspects to consider when assessing your dog’s weight include the regularity and intensity of physical exercise, as well as their daily diet.

A study conducted by Purina Pet Food in collaboration with dietitians in 2002 found that balanced nutrition can extend a dog’s life by two years, a significant increase considering the average lifespan of dogs ranges from 10 to 13 years. Maintaining an optimal weight undoubtedly benefits them, but how do you determine if your dog’s weight is right?

If you’re concerned that your dog may be suffering from either underweight or overweight issues, the most reliable way to get an answer is through consultation with a veterinarian or a dietitian. However, there are also simple methods for self-assessment to determine if your pet needs lifestyle adjustments.

a dog and a dog silhouette

Profile Check

Typically, a dog’s abdomen should be positioned higher than the chest, with a gradual rise from the front legs to the hind legs. An acute angle indicates underweight, while a smooth angle or its absence indicates excess weight. To check the profile, observe the dog from the side, being at the same level as the dog.

Rib Palpation

Another method is palpating the dog’s ribs. Place your thumbs on the spine and your palms on the chest. If you can feel the ribs under the skin and fur, the weight is considered normal. If the ribs cannot be felt due to a layer of fat, this may indicate excess weight. It’s important to palpate rather than just visually assess as fur can conceal the true condition.

Top View

With a normal weight, the dog should have an hourglass shape when viewed from above. The waist should be noticeably narrower than the chest. If ribs are visible and the waist is significantly narrower than the chest, this may indicate underweight. If the waist is level with or protrudes beyond the ribs, this is a sign of excess weight.

Depending on whether you discover underweight or overweight issues with your dog, you should adjust their lifestyle accordingly. If underweight, it’s possible the dog isn’t receiving enough nutrients or is overtrained. In such cases, specialized food for working dogs rich in energy and nutrients is recommended. If the dog is overweight, increasing physical activity and transitioning to a low-calorie diet is necessary. Considering that nearly half of the dogs in the UK suffer from obesity, it’s important to take active measures to address this issue. If your dog experiences digestive issues, grain-free food is recommended, promoting better digestion and reducing bloating.

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