Like humans, canine obesity significantly contributes to disease and death. Sometimes we love our dogs so much that saying no to those beautiful, pleading eyes is too hard. But if we really love them, we need to find a way to say no.

First, we need to figure out if they are overweight. Ultimately we are responsible for what they eat, when they eat and how much they eat. So how do you know if your dog is considered to be overweight?

When is a Dog Considered Fat?

Put your hands on your dog.

See if you can feel your dog’s ribs. They should be easy to find as you rub your hands along their sides. It is like running your fingers over your knuckles. They are too thin if you can easily see and count your dogs ribs. They are too heavy if you have to dig into their sides to find them.

Run your hands along your dog’s spine, shoulders and hips. They are too thin if you can easily see them. They are too heavy if you have to dig your hands into the dog or cannot find them.

Look at your dog.

From the side, you should be able to see a waistline on your dog. If the waist is severe or their bones are sticking out, they are too thin. If you cannot see a waist line or their waist area is wider than their hips or ribs, then the dog is too heavy.

From above, you should be able to see what is called an abdominal tuck. An abdominal tuck is when the diameter of the dog at the chest is larger than the area after the rib cage. If the abdominal tuck seems significant, the dog is too thin. If you cannot see an abdominal tuck, the dog is too heavy.

Obesity in Dogs

Breed Variation in Weight

Please keep in mind that these are general guidelines. You must consider what is appropriate for your breed of dog as a Greyhound looks very different from a Basset Hound so check with your breed standard. Also, males and females will be different within the same breed. If you do not know what breed your dog is, do your best to guess what they most resemble and use that breed standard as a guide. These basic tools apply to all breeds.