How to Tell if Your Dog is Overweight, in Ideal Body Condition or Too Thin
Here are 3 simple ways to tell if your dog’s diet needs an adjustment.
Rib Check: Place both of your thumbs on your dog’s backbone and spread both hands across his rib cage. You want to be able to feel his ribs. Actually feeling your dog is important, as the coat of many dogs will make a visual check difficult.
Profile Check: Examine your dog’s profile – it’s best if you are level with your dog. Look for the abdomen to be tucked up behind his rib cage – this is ideal.
Overhead Check: Looking at your dog from overhead, identify whether you can see a waist behind his ribs. Most dogs at a healthy weight should have an hourglass figure.
If you find that your dog’s ribs and waistline aren’t where they’re supposed to be, adjust the amount of food offered accordingly.
Is your dog getting chubbier as he ages? You might be the last to notice.
Sometimes it takes a trip to the groomer or veterinarian to help you see what’s happening. Still, most weight gain can be avoided by using the directions on pet food packages as a dietary guide.
Your pet’s body condition can be categorized into one of three broad ranges: very thin, just right or “fit,” or overweight. Most of us could easily agree on what is meant by very thin and what is overweight, but judging whether your pet is “fit” can be difficult. Ask your veterinarian to help you determine your pet’s body condition. The simplest rule of thumb is whether you’re able to feel his ribs (but not see them) and whether you can see an hourglass shape when viewing your dog from above or from the side.
Though helpful, your dog could need more or less food than is specified by standard pet food labels. You’ll have to gauge this yourself. After following a product’s feeding directions for 1 to 2 weeks, evaluate your pet’s body with your eyes and hands. If needed, adjust his servings accordingly. By continuing this process every couple of weeks, you can quickly learn to “feed your pet, not his bowl”.