How Do I Know If My Dog Is Too Skinny Or Overweight?

When it comes to looking after your dog, food and exercise have a huge part to play. Feed them too much and they’ll gain weight. Feed them too little and they’ll quickly become undernourished.

We’ve outlined some criteria below to help you determine if your dog needs to hop on the dog treadmill, increase his serving of kibble, or continue with the regimen you have already established for them.

Is My Dog Overweight?

The best way to show your dog you love them is through their stomach. But an extra bone here and spoon of peanut butter there can end up doing more harm to your dog’s health than you realise.

Dogs are naturally lean and athletic creatures but often, dog owners see dogs who are at a healthy weight as too thin, which can lead to overfeeding them.

An easy test to determine if your dog is overweight is to assess their body – not just how they look but how they feel.

Stand your dog up on all four legs and run your hands over their body. If you can’t feel their ribs it’s likely your dog is holding more fat than they should.

Your dog’s chest should also be wider than their abdomen, with a noticeable tuck-up from chest to stomach. Look at your dog from the side:

Does your dog have a Saggy or Round Belly?

Is it hard to differentiate between their chest and stomach? If you answered “yes” to at least one of these questions, then it is likely your dog is overweight.

What’s The Best Way To Care For An Overweight Dog?

What do you do when you’ve gained a bit of weight? Diet and exercise. The best way to help your dog lose those extra kilos is to cut their food portion – just a little, this shouldn’t be drastic – and exercise them more frequently or for longer periods. Exercise can be outside, in your backyard, or on your Chase Pro dog treadmill.

Is My Dog Too Skinny?

It can be more tricky to determine if your dog is too skinny. Some dog breeds naturally have more slim builds, while other dog breeds are more stocky.

To determine if your dog is too skinny, the same rib test outlined above can be conducted.

Stand your dog up on all four legs and run your hands over their body. If you feel too much rib, too much hip bone, and/or there’s no fat between your dog’s skin, it’s likely they are underweight.

Some other signs you can look for to determine if your dog is too skinny are:

  • The bones at the base of the tail are protruding.
  • The curve between the ribs and hips looks extreme when viewed from above.
  • The spine and ribs are plainly visible when viewed from above.

How Can I Help My Dog Gain Weight?

If you think that your dog is underweight, the first question to ask is: Am I feeding my dog enough?

To determine this, monitor your dog’s eating habits.

Do they inhale their food in one go?

If your dog is a fast eater and seems eager for more, you may not be feeding them enough food. Check the nutrition guidelines on your dog food and adjust your dog’s diet accordingly with your vet’s advice.

Does your dog not seem to have an appetite? Or maybe they’re eating enough but still seem too skinny?

If either of these is the case, it’s time to go to the vet. Sometimes weight loss, lack of appetite or malnutrition can be caused by underlying health factors. In this case, it’s always important to seek professional advice.

Is My Dog A Healthy Weight?

If your dog is within a healthy weight range, their body shape should be lean and even. That means no protruding ribs and no round gut (their abdomen should be higher up than their ribcage). With a dog in peak condition, you should only feel and slightly see the last 4 ribs.

The best way to determine if your dog is a healthy weight is to assess their physical appearance. As a guide, the below may be useful:

dog weight chart

In Summary Knowing Your Dog Helps You Know if Your Dog is Too Skinny

Simply observing your dog – their figure and their eating habits – is helpful in determining if their weight is heavy, low or healthy.

If you are still unsure if your dog is too skinny or overweight, then book an appointment with your vet. It never hurts to seek a professional opinion.