30 Mar How to tell if your dog is a healthy weight
For your dog to be happy and healthy, keeping their body in good condition is a must. Dogs who are overweight or underweight are at risk of a myriad of health issues which can shorten their life expectancy and reduce the quality of their lives.
What weight should my dog be?
How much your dog should weigh depends on a few factors – their breed, their age and their sex.
The PitPat app was designed with vets and takes you through a simple body condition score test to help determine if your dog is a healthy weight. It also lets you set an ideal weight and tracks your progress safely towards it.
How can I weigh my dog?
By far the easiest way to weigh your dog is to pop down to your local vets. Most have dog-sized scales in the waiting room area and if your dog is registered there, they will usually let you weigh them at no cost. For larger dog breeds, or those who don’t like to be held, this can be the best option.
Trying to weigh your dog at home can be a tricky endeavour! Here are our top tips:
- For small dogs, put them on a set of bathroom scales and try and get them to keep still (bribery in the form of treats and toys may be necessary!)
- Alternatively, grab a basket they will fit in and that will fit on the scale without leaning on the floor or obscuring the measurement panel. Take the weight with them in the basket, then subtract the weight of the basket by itself. (This one only really works for small breeds and puppies)
- If you can hold your dog in your arms, weigh both yourself and the dog on the scales, then subtract your weight from the total
Make sure your dog is used to being weighed from an early age, if possible. Introduce them to scales slowly, rewarding them as they go, until they are finally comfortable sitting or standing on the scales whilst they are being weighed.
How often should I weigh my dog?
Most vets will weigh your dog at each check-up, usually about once a year.
However, dogs under a year old and those with medical conditions causing a loss in appetite or water consumption should be weighed much more frequently, in order to detect any major changes quickly.
We reward PitPat Life members who update their pup’s weight every week – that’s because we want to help them stay on track and be able to see the paw-sitive results from all the walkies and playtime! By keeping a close eye on your dog’s weight, you’ll be able to spot trends, match activity levels to changes and provide your vet with data that may help them diagnose issues or facilitate rehabilitation.
How can I check my dog’s body condition?
Your dog’s body condition is a great way to easily check whether your dog is in good shape or not and it can be carried out easily at home.
To find out how to check, just watch the video below with our ambassador, Rory the Vet.
STEP 1: Feel their ribs. Run your fingers along their ribs – you want to be able to count them fairly easily – if you can’t they might be carrying a bit too much weight.
STEP 2: Feel their spine. You should be able to feel the length of it fairly easily. Again, if you struggle to do so, they might be carrying a little too much weight.
STEP 3: Check their waist and belly. You should be able to see a nice clear tuck in at the belly from the side and when looking down.
What should I do if my dog is overweight?
There are many things you can do to help bring your dog’s weight down. Before putting your dog on a new diet or exercise regimen, we would first always recommend discussing weight loss with your vet, who can advise you on the best types of exercise and diets specifically for your dog.
That said, for those packing a few extra pounds on, the recipe to slimming down is simple – controlling their diet and improving their exercise. That could mean changing the type of food and treats you give them and opting for exercise which gets them moving – whether through play, running, swimming or even canine sports.
What should I do if my dog is underweight?
Being underweight could signal an underlying health issue with your dog, so first things first, make sure you get them checked over by a vet.
After they have the all-clear, you need to help them put on weight in a healthy way. Depending on the reason they are underweight, you may wish to change their diet (such as by giving them higher calorie meals) or by limiting their exercise.
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