A dog that is a correct weight will be healthier, live longer and enjoy life more. Your vet will review your dog's weight when you visit but you don't need to wait for a trip to the vet to tell you how your dog is fairing. The following quick check will tell you whether your dog is a healthy weight or not and allow you to adjust their diet as needed.
Before we begin it is important to note that all breeds are different so it is always good to know what your breed average is. Dogs, like humans, are individual and may not conform to the standard weigh, this is why a visual and hands-on check of your dog is important.
A visual check from the side. Your dog's tummy should tuck or slope upwards from the rib cage. If it is hanging below or is level with the rib cage then the dog is probably overweight. If your dog has a dense coat this is trickier but you can feel underneath or do this when they are wet.
Stand over your dog from above. You should be able to see a curved in waist. You should not be able to see sharply prominent hip bones, this indicates your dog is probably underweight. If your dog is missing a visible waist they are overweight and need to lose a few pounds.
This is a good time to run your thumbs down their spine, especially if your dog is thicker coated or fluffy. You should be able to feel their spine and some of the bumps easily as you run your thumbs down to the tail. If you cannot really feel a spine this is an indication your dog is carrying too much weight.
Run your hands over the ribs. You should be able to feel individual ribs easily. If you cannot feel any evidence of ribs your dog is likely to be overweight. Ribs can be visible on some breeds and this is still an indication of a healthy weight (greyhounds, whippets, Italian greyhounds etc) but if you can see a lot of rib with a thin layer of skin your dog may be underweight.
If you perform this check and are still unsure whether your dog is a healthy weight your vet will be able to tell you by taking them in for a check. If you need help to decrease or increase your dog's weight please get in touch or read the following blogs to find out how to do this:
Is My Dog Too Lean?