How to Tell if Your Dog is the Right Weight?

Knowing if your dog is the right weight can be tricky, especially with so many breeds and so many crosses and combinations around. Even within breeds there is always a range of recommended weight.

It is always heartbreaking to see a starving dog, with it’s bones showing but fat dogs are just as uncomfortable. It is important to keep your dog in his ideal weight to avoid strain on the joints and other complications. In fact dogs kept at their ideal weight outlive overweight littermates by almost 2 whole years!!

So how do you tell if you dog is overweight or under? Here are some quick, useful tips on how to keep a close eye on your pup.

Checking if Your Dog is the Right Weight

  • Look at your dog, there should be a waist between the hips and rib cage.
  • Feel along your dog’s body, you should be able to easily feel the ribs but not see them poking out.
  • The base of the tail should also run in a smooth line, overweight dogs could have a bulge of fat where the tail joins the body.
  • If you’re really struggling consult the breeder, or better, a vet.

A dog’s belly size is not a great indicator of weight, dogs that have had several litters or are over the age of 7 will have less of a neat tummy tuck and more of a middle-aged potbelly look about them as the abdomen muscles weaken (happens to us all!).

Some breeds are more bony (such as greyhounds) or thick set (such as mastiffs) than other breeds so it can be good to have a look at other dogs of the same breed to get a comparison.


This dog looks like a naturally lean breed however you can see far too many bones on show, she is definitely underweight.

What If Your Dog Isn’t the Ideal Weight?

If you believe your friend to be over or under weight then the first thing is to adjust their food intake. Perhaps you’ve been too liberal with the treats or your dog’s portion sizes aren’t quite big enough to sustain his exercise regime. Whatever way you need to go make sure you make changes gradually (no one likes a diet). And if your dog isn’t showing signs of changes within a couple of weeks it is best to consult a good vet. They have scales where you can easily weigh your dog and will have knowledge of low or high calorie food. They can also rule out any underlying problems for why your dog isn’t heading in the right direction.

mastiff weight.JPG

Here you can see a clear waist visible, just before his hips, on this mastiff. Even with the extra folds of skin he is still within the correct range for his breed.

So remember to keep a check on your best friends weight and it may just give you those extra couple of years together!

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