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How to Tell If Your Dog Is at a Healthy Weight

Although we are well aware of the increasing crisis of human obesity, did you know that pet obesity is an equally worrisome problem? Almost 60 percent of dogs and cats in the US are either overweight or obese! Although they may be adorable, overweight and obese pets may face a host of health issues, including joint disease, lung disease, diabetes, cancer, cardiac problems, and eventually shortened lifespans and low quality of life. Factors such as breed, build and fur type mean that it’s not always obvious whether your pet is overweight. One factor that for sure can lead to your pet being overweight is pet anxiety. Just as in humans, anxiety plays a part in how much food we eat and how active we are. If your pet is suffering from anxiety, consider one of our Luxury Ultra Comfort Beds which are proven to reduce anxiety. Let’s discuss how you can find out if your dog has a weight problem and more importantly what you can do about it?


How to Determine Your Dog’s Healthy Weight

Do you know how to tell if your dog has a good weight? It’s easy to verify, and with this guide, you can keep track of their weight and see any big shifts and fluctuations. To make your dog is comfortable and safe, it’s a priority to keep their body in good shape. Dogs who are overweight or underweight are at risk of a myriad of health conditions that can decrease their life span and reduce their quality of life.


It can be hard to tell if your dog is overweight from just looking at them. Give them a fast check-up at home to see if there might be a weight problem. The best way to do so is with a Body Condition Ranking (BCS). It is a hands-on evaluation of the dog’s physical condition. It considers how well you can see your dog’s ribs and collar bones if you can feel your dog’s spine and hip bones but don’t see them if you can see your dog’s last rib, if your dog has an hourglass figure, and if your dog has a formed waist when you see it from the rear. You should then give a grade of 1 to 9 to your dog as follows:


  • Underweight (1–3): Ribs, spine, and hip bones noticeable, low overweight, very clear waist.
  • Ideal Weight (4–5): Ribs, spine, and hip bones not noticeable but you can feel them comfortably, well proportioned, can be found in the waistline.
  • Overweight to obese (6–9): The ribs, spine, and hip bones are not seen or felt, the waist is limited or the waist cannot be seen at all, the excess of fat deposits on the waist, face, and limbs.


Bottom Line

If your dog is overweight, the first step in your dog's weight loss is to talk to your doctor and set some reasonable targets. Weight loss is a sustained endeavor, but measuring progress over time is the easiest way to stay on top of your dog’s progress. You can see if they lose weight too slowly, too fast, or if they have plateaued and changed their schedule as needed. Again, the vet will instruct you on the right weight-loss strategy, but the target of losing 0.5 to 2% of overall body fat each week is common.


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