It can be hard to determine whether your dog has a healthy weight. This is especially true since there are so many breeds of dogs.
Most of the time, however, we do need to know the condition of our pets. The more we know, the easier we can provide them with better living conditions. Specifically, the diet that we give them should be controlled in the best way possible.
Even though assessing whether a dog with an amateur eye can be hard, you can still follow some guidelines to make it easier.
Dog breed: the classification of dogs by size
The first thing you should know to assess whether your dog is of the right weight is to know their breed. For the sake of this article, we can classify them according to their sizes.
Unfortunately, even grouping them can be quite a hassle. It is not simple to identify and standardize what actually makes the dog ‘large’ or ‘medium’. Despite that, we can still roughly divide them into three.
1. Small breeds
These are the little lovable runts you see on the streets being all vigilant. Most of the small dog breeds are characterized by their tremendous energy reserves in contrast to their body size. They can be loud and annoying to some, but other small dog breeds do behave well.
If the average weight of your dog breed is lighter than around 22-23 pounds, it can be considered small a breed. However, these numbers are not really strict figures and experts will have a varying definition of what they can call small or medium
Popular dog breeds of this size are Chihuahuas, Yorkshire Terriers, beagles, dachshunds, and more.
2. Medium breeds
These dog breeds are the most popular type. They are generally active enough, but also healthy enough for people not to worry for them.
If your dog’s breed’s average weight is around 40 – 55 pounds, they may be considered as a medium-sized breed.
The common breeds of this size are huskies, poodles, Labrador retriever, and more.
3. Large breeds
The large dog breeds are less energetic than their medium and small breed counterparts. Since they are bigger, they need more space to work with. Despite that, they are quite lovable. They are easy to train since they are very intelligent.
If your dog’s breed’s average weight is more than 55 or 60 pounds, the dog can most likely be classified as large.
Examples of famous large dog breeds are Golden Retrievers, German shepherds, bulldogs, and more.
Read more: How Many Calories Should My Dog Eat
Ways to know how much your dog should weigh
Now that you have an idea what breed your dog is, you can start to figure out if their present weight is healthy or not.
1. Standardized weight by breed
The fastest method of knowing how much your dog should weigh is to look up a chart online on the range of healthy weight values according to your dog breed.
For example, if you have a Chihuahua, a breed standard weight chart may tell you that the ideal dog of that breed should not exceed 6 pounds. Or if you have a Golden Retriever instead, they may tell you that your dog should have around 57 pounds.
It is quite simple especially if you know your dog’s breed. However, the limitations of this method are also clear.
First, if you are not sure what breed your dog is, these standards will not help you. Another thing to note is the fact that even dogs of the same breed can have different body types. It is very hard to determine your dog’s exact body type so it is also hard to find the exact standard weight for them.
Overall, it is a simple method which is best used for a quick check-up on your dog.
2. Dog examination
You can also just look at your dog and see if it is fat. Well, of course, it is not that easy since we have less understanding of a dog's body compared to that of a human. Furthermore, the changes and the signs of malnourishment or obesity can be too small for an amateur person to fully recognize.
However, there are guidelines that you can use. You can do some physical examination yourself and see if you can identify if your dog has an ideal weight.
Malnourished dogs – their ribs and other bones in the body can be felt with minimal fat covering them. Even worse is when you can really see the outline of the dog’s bones just from looking.
Obese dogs – if you can hardly feel your dog’s ribs when you touch them, most likely they are already too fat. The shape can be bloated and the dog’s natural shape can be less seen.
Perfect Dogs – you should be able to feel the ribs of a healthy dog. At the same time, you should be able to feel some fats as well albeit not excessive amounts.
3. Go to a veterinarian
Since it can be pretty hard to truly assess your pet, simply going to a vet can solve a lot of your issues. You do need to pay some cash, but surely it will be all worth as long as your little friend can be safe and sound. Did you know that more than half of US dogs that vets see are obese? That’s according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) Pet Obesity Survey.
What you can do if you found out that…
1. Your dog is overweight
Stop giving your dogs random treats. Exercise is also necessary, so make sure you take your friend out for a walk sometimes. You should not change your dog's diet drastically though. Go to a vet for a consultation first before you do any significant action.
Read more: How to Help Your Dog Lose Weight
2. Your dog is underweight
Try to see if you can give your dog more to eat. However, as mentioned before, any drastic change in diet should undergo a consultation with the vet first.
Read more: How to Get a Dog to Gain Weight
It is hard to determine how much your dog should weigh. However, there is also no need to be alarmed. The most important part is that you constantly check on the condition of your pet so you can see any signs of harm that may be on their way.
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