How Do You Tell If A Dog Is Right Weight?

Discussion in 'Dog Health' started by tigerlily46514, Nov 15, 2011.

  1. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    Now that winter is approaching,:ninja:
    i always worry a bit about my beloved Buddy getting a bit pudgy:rolleyes: as his activity slows down a bit.
    I do cut his food back,
    and i'm TRYING to get more into using tug-toy as trick-rewards,
    but anyway,
    usually, every winter,
    my dog does add a few pounds for the winter, dispite my best efforts.

    Luckily, so far, every spring, he loses those lbs again.:p still, i'd rather he doesn't spend winter lugging a few extra pounds around...

    Sara once posted some type of pinch test, to determine if dog was up or down in their weight, but, i can't find it.
    I know i can also take Buddy to the vet, no charge:D just to weigh him, and it's yet another chance for him to think, "This place is fun!":D
    but, what are other ways?

    Eyeballing him:unsure: is not as easy in the winter, as his coat really fills out, obscuring his shape quite a bit.
    How do you all tell if your dog is right weight on week by week basis?

    and how are you keeping your dogs fit and active this winter?
    (with Buddy being dog-aggressive, i have some limits on what he joins in on, but, others can get inspired by others here)

  2. bekah1001 Honored Member

    I heard it was the ribs. if their stomach is big, they're fine. But i think that if you can really see and feel the ribs the dogs under weight if you can't feel the ribs the dogs over weight. It was something like that. Sorry i'm not much help
    tigerlily46514 likes this.
  3. bekah1001 Honored Member

    oh and I love playing fetch with snowballs during the winter time :p
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  4. Amateur Experienced Member

    you can't always tell if a dog is over/underweight just by looking at them. You have to put your hands on them and like Bekah said feel the ribs. There are probably many google sites to explain this further

    But Probably the best way for you would be, next time you are at the vets ask her/him to show you ... at least you will be able to judge from what you can feel that day for a comparison in the future.
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  5. sara Moderator

    You should be able to easily feel the ribs hips and spine without too much pressure... but the hips and spine should not stick up, and you shouldn't be able to play the xylophone on his ribs LOL

    I didn't post a pinch test, musta' been someone else? Ollie gained weight last winter... I felt horrible after I figured that out! He wont gain this year, I've cut back on his food, and will cut back even more on days we cant get out... I even skip meals once a week or so
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  6. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    lol, it was you, Sara, i was just recalling your words incorrectly, THAT was what you'd said, THANKS! yeah, i dunno how, but Buddy is already packing his extra lbs,
    and it's only November.:eek:

    i'm gonna have to cut wayyy back, and try to use other rewards more often than food...(leaves to go find out if i can feel Buddy's ribs, hips and spine......)
    THANK YOU ALL! keep your fingers crossed i can head this whole chubby thing off,
    and do a lil better at keeping my dog fit this coming, it's only November...oh my.
  7. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    OH NO!! i can not feel Buddy's ribs at all....:eek: nor his spine! hip bones, just barely.
    so he IS packing some extra pounds then, right? oh my...i do think i will swing by the vets and weigh him tomorrow to see how outa hand we are already!

    Sara, is there a lil health benefit to skipping a meal now and then? I might have to try that, seems it'd be a lil closer to natural for the, my dog seems to be carrying "a whole meal" extra anyway!
  8. sara Moderator

    Yes, there certainly is a benefit to skipping a meal now and then... unlike humans, it speeds up their metabolism, and dogs really aren't designed for constant feeding. the other thing you can do, if Buddy's up for it, is use his meals as trick training treats. I often use my dog's breakfast as a 15 minute or so training session (obviously Oliver's is longer than Mouse and Boo's as he get's double the food lol) So he's not getting extra fat off the treats and no extra food.
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  9. Amateur Experienced Member

    I do the same Sara ... I have a daily allotment of food and any training treats comes out of that, so there is no extra food being added to the daily diet.

    Plus ... have you considered getting a treadmill for Mr. Pudgey
    tigerlily46514 likes this.
  10. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    ha, no, we can't much afford a treadmill, but, we CAN step up his walks to his summer-length walks again.

    I just read Sara's remark on how to check for chubby dogs in post#5 out loud to my guy, who is in denial that our dog is chubby.
    I made him run his fingers down Buddy's rib cage,
    then try to feel the spine,
    and then try to find the hip bones,
    and he did laff,
    and agreed, our dog must be getting a lil bit fat.
    NO WAY to feel any ribs at all.O_o

    Getting my guy on board on a dog food-reduction plan is crucial, as he shares any meat he is eating with Buddy.
    He gives Buddy treats for breathing.

    I have tried for eons to get him to quit doing that, with no success. I have reminded him of his last dog who got so fat, and how damaging that was.
    He is good man, very very good with dogs, but just has a lifelong habit of rewarding dogs all the time for breathing.

    So finally, this year, i have insisted, and insisted, again and again,
    that if he is going to share his food with our dog,(he is) ---first the dog has to do some trick,
    any trick
    for each and every scrap. no rewards for just breathing.

    for real, sometimes ppl are harder to train than dogs.:ROFLMAO:
    but now, we really do have to stop the food food food....
  11. mewzard Experienced Member

    Ok, i use this meathod - as a BARF feeder food amounts are rough(ruff?:ROFLMAO:), so we are always checking....

    #1 feel along your dogs ribs
    #2 make a fist

    If you dogs ribs feel like
    a) the back of your hand = he is too fat!
    b) over your knuckles = he is too skinny
    c) your fingers under your knuckles = Just right
    From the side your dogs tummy should go up before meeting the back legs (tuck-up). From the top down the dog should have a 'waist' - thier sides should curve in before the hips..
    Ohhh...just found this: Body condition chart
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  12. charmedwolf Moderator

    I learned it a little differntly then mewzard though I think this fist check might be a RAW/BARF type thing.

    Make a fist.
    Feel the knuckles that are sticking up = Too Skinny

    Lay your hand flat on a table.
    Run your hand across the same knuckles as before = Ideal

    Flip your hand palms up.
    Feel the pads of your palm near your fingers = Too Fat

    The 'tuck' of the stomach also doesn't show up in some breeds.
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  13. mewzard Experienced Member

    I was thinking about 'tuck' after I posted, and thought surely that won't true for all dogs bur couldn't think of an example off the top of my head :) Oka's doesn't show up so well in winter as her winter coat is longer! Funny thing about weight is, people expect dogs to be round... I have had people tell me she is too skinny as her stomach goes in!
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  14. Amateur Experienced Member

    " If your dog is too fat,
    YOU are not getting enough exercise " :rolleyes:
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  15. Husky heaven Well-Known Member

    Both of my dogs are too fat- The hot summer made them lazy and too much trick training means too many treats. I was concidering buying a bike but I have just been watching a clip of someone come to grief while being towed to by two huskies! For one dog it might be worth considering, you can get attatchments so they can help pull but you don't run them over.
  16. mewzard Experienced Member

    Have you heard of scooterjoring ? I know someone with 3 huskys who does this, basically they pull a kind of standing platform you ride on - bit like sleding. Good excercise for the dogs and a little safer for you!
  17. sneg Well-Known Member

    I have an underweight dog - I can see Kita's ribs well and her spine is also easily felt, even visible. However, she eats food meant for active dogs, gets lots of treats and raw bones. She just doesn't gain more weight (prtially because her active life). She was 14kg when we got her, about 20 or bit less now (went from 30lbs to 44). But she is extremely lightly built and has characteristics of a sighthound, so I'm not really worried. The vet also said that she's in good weight and muscled.

    My other dog lost her ribs into fat and fur. She has thinned out now, but not enough. She should be bit thinner - she was 10,5 kg, went up to 12,5 (from 23 to 27). Big change for a dog that's only 31cm high. she is now around 11,5, so it should be ok.
  18. mewzard Experienced Member

    Sneg, you bring up a good point really - that the same as humans, dogs can just be different sizes.
    We have to remember also that the amounts on dog food packets aren't gospel - they are guidelines. According to my foster dogs food bag i sould be feeding Oka almost 2kg of food a day! But she would be massively overweight with that amount. I always work out food by a percentage of body weight, then increase/decrease according to activity level.
    But there is a range of "right weight". Oka is probably a little over at the moment, she was quite under weight because of a change we made (for training purposes) and so have had to build her up again. Our FD is underweight, we are trying to build him up a bit.
    tigerlily46514 likes this.
  19. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    Mewzard makes such a great point, about dog food bags often being followed exactly, even when the dog is overweight/underweight!! I know some ppl with chubby dogs who still feed by what the bag says to feed....baffling. They almost seem to feel they "have to" feed their dog so many cups per day, despite the fact their dog is wrong weight...

    Yes, in america, so so so so many dogs are chubby, that a dog with a visible tuck is often seen as underweight, lol, that is so true!:ROFLMAO: A trim dog looks odd to many ppl!

    well, i've cut back Buddy's food back, but, ribs are still not dog does not LOOK chubby, but, i know he is....another person would not think my dog is chubby...
    to me, he does look a lil heavier than he usually does,
    and now that i know to feel for his ribs, i know he IS packin a few extra pounds. If it were February, i would not be so worried cuz Buddy gains a bit every winter and loses it again in the spring..........but,
    .......this is only November.:eek:

    Sneg, for your underweight dog, you could also try increasing the amts of food, and also adding small dab of cannola oil to every other meal. Cannola oil is loaded with calories, and helps dog have shiney fur, great skin and coat, and the extra fat helps the dog absorb his fat-soluable vitamins from his dog food. I also feel adding cannola oil reduces his shedding onto the floor, but, others disagree, still, it seems true at my house.:ROFLMAO:
    then the fur comes off when i brush him, not on the floor so much, especially during Buddy's twice-yearly shedding seasons (spring and fall)
  20. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    //"Both of my dogs are too fat- The hot summer made them lazy and too much trick training means too many treats."//

    Well, i hear your point there!!:ROFLMAO:

    I keep my dog really active in the summer, although we have 400% humitidy and hit >100 often, i just douse my dog with water. I soak him to the skin, soak my own hair, and then we can go on walks just as if it only 70 degrees out.:cool: He walks and runs just fine, and so do i, if we are wet. No panting, no exhaustion, dogs are fine in the heat IF SOAKING WET!!!!!!!!

    and not all training requires food for rewards. This is something that others here are helping me learn. I've always used only food, but, this year, i've begun to use toy play or even running outdoors, as rewards for trick well done.
    ^THAT^ thread really changed how i reward my dog, really opened my eyes!!!!!!

    we only need to use raisen sized treats.
    I do think too many ppl use full-sized treats.

    And for jackpots, many ppl give very large treats, or handful of treats all at same time.
    I recently read that dogs feel it is more of a jackpot, if the treats are fed one after the other after the other,
    in sequence,
    more than large handful all at once. I've started doing this for Buddy's occasional jackpots.
    My dog,
    like most dogs,
    does not care at all how big a treat dog even scours the kitchen floor for the tiniest of small speck is too small for him to pass over, :rolleyes:he will enjoy even a tiny crumb, if it is the right flavor, ha ha!!:ROFLMAO:

    here is low calorie treat recipe that all dogs love, easy to make, cheap, etc:
    (store bought treats are often toxic,:mad: full of sugar, carcinogenic preservatives,
    and contain ZERO nutrients)

    Also, many many ppl use tugging on a toy as reward for a trick. DO click on "CLASSROOM" and watch the site admin, Jean, training his dogs, he often uses pulling on toy as reward for his dog. I am using that technique more and more.
    especially now that i know my dog IS a bit chubby!!:ROFLMAO: Jean's dog in those videos look fit as fiddles.

    I have found my dog much enjoys the 'change up'-----
    sometimes he gets a tiny treat,
    sometimes he gets a tug-toy.
    This makes rewards more interesting to Buddy, never knowing for sure what great thing will happen.

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