Weight Gain

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”.