I am often asked how do you know if your dog is the correct weight? Having owned a dog who was consistently underweight all of his life due to “living on his nerves” and now owning my four labradors I am always aware of the condition my dogs are in. Weight is an important issue to address as dogs that are overweight will struggle with their joints and have heart problems later on in life.
When you stroke your dog, you should be able rub their chest only just feeling the ribs. The ribs shouldnt feel like they are poking out (underweight) or if you cant feel the ribs at all then your dog is overweight.
The best way to describe checking for fat on your dog is to stroke the chest and visualise does it feel like a sheet covering the ribs, a blanket or a duvet?
Sheet – underweight!
Blanket – just right!
Duvet – overweight (summer tog – overweight!, winter tog very overweight!)
This method is a simple means for you to check your dog without even having to take your dog to the vets to be weighed! However if you have doubts about your dogs weight then go along and get him/her checked. With weight issues then regular weighings at the vets will help you monitor your dogs needs.
Your vet can help advise you the best means forward in weight loss or weight gain. I tend to suggest people phoning up Burns for advice as they have a helpline for free advice on nutrition. (not obligated to buy their product!).
Please also look at Advice on Feeding Quantities