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Determining the Ideal Weight for a Dog

By Mandi Rogier
 

Overview

Obesity is the leading cause of sickness in the United States, not just for humans but for our pets as well. Keeping a dog healthy is just as important as keeping ourselves healthy. However, determining the health of a pet can be much more difficult than assessing the health of a person. As humans, we are able to talk and communicate about what's wrong and how we feel. Dogs lack the ability to communicate their problems, so it's up to their owners to determine how healthy they are. There are several steps that can help determine whether a dog is overweight.

Step 1

Look at the dog's ribs. When you feel for the ribs, you should be able to feel each individual rib, with a thin layer of fat over the bone. If you can see each rib, the dog is too thin; if you cannot feel any ribs at all, the dog is too heavy.

Step 2

Check the dog's back near the base of the tail. There will be a little fat covering the area. This is a sign of a healthy dog. Again, if you can actually see the bone sticking out, the dog is too thin; if you are unable to locate any bones while feeling the area, the dog is too heavy.

Step 3

Feel around the dog's spine, hips and shoulders. Like the ribs, these should be covered in a thin layer of fat, but you should still be able to locate them with your hand. If these bones stick out and are not covered in that thin layer of fat, the dog is too thin. If those bones are hidden from view and you cannot locate them by feeling around, the dog is overweight.

Step 4

Look at the dog from above. There should be a noticeable taper at the base of the ribs that widens at the hips. The dog should have an "hourglass figure," so to speak. This is a healthy dog. If the ribs are too visible, or if the body doesn't taper between the hips and ribs, the dog is unhealthy.

Step 5

Look at the dog from the side. Like the taper from above, from the side the dog should have a smaller diameter around the waist than around the ribs. Several types of dogs have a very distinct abdominal tuck; with others you have to look a little more closely.
Comments (4)
Jan 31, 2010 luvmydogs2010
What do you do if the dog is overweight? Mine is and I only feed her once a day. Is there diet food or could it be a medical problem as people have. Would appreciate any advice or suggestions. I just put my 14 yr old Cocker down and I am thinking it was heart failure. Since reading the article on heart conditions.
Jun 22, 2011 @nimals
I also have your problem with my dog. He is a Black Lab and weighs 108.2 pounds. We were just at the vet and he said that is not a average weight for his breed of dog but again as you said we only feed him once a day full bowl of Purunia Dog Chow at 12:00 and he'll eat it and run around in our yard almost all day. But our vetrinarian said that if we only feed him once a day and he exercises he's healthy so i guess
May 28, 2012 ArielleSully
Feeding once a day is not necessarily the solution. It is the same for humans- depending on the dog's ideal weight and activity level, calories should be adjusted accordingly. For example, my older dog should be about 75 pounds and he is active so he requires about 1800 calories a day. His food has 425 calories per cup (Acana, grain free grasslands. I highly recommend this brand of dog food, and if you don't already have your dog on a grain free diet, you should consider the switch.) So he gets a little over 4 cups of food a day. Two in the morning, two at night. I prefer feeding twice a day. If you don't measure the amount of food you are giving your dog, I would recommend starting to do so. And grain free really is the best option. The dogs aren't getting unnecessary carbohydrates (which do the same thing to a dogs midsection that they do to people's midsections...). I hope this helps!
Dec 31, 2013 Teena Ann
My puppy Cooper is 9 months now and his not eating his kibble h e is otherwise active and healthy and has minor HD but doesnt show any signs of pain or limping i don knw knw y he is holding out on his kibble can u pls tell me wat to do i feed him 3 times a day for meal one he gets kibble for meal 2 he gets rice with boiled eggs or chicken or beef or mixed veggies on alternate days and for meal three he gets rice mixed with pedigree gravy.He was on science plan food and for the past few months he has been refusing to eat it even aftr i tried changing the brands pls help
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