Your dog

Whether you know your dog’s weight or not, you’ve come to the right place. If you’re not sure, we can help you understand their body shape and weight and what it means. And remember - no matter how they weigh up - we can provide expert advice to improve your four-legged friend’s health.

Being a healthy weight and shape will improve your dog’s quality of life and mental health, it can delay the onset of long-term diseases and may even help them live longer.

Weighing your dog regularly will help you keep a close eye on weight loss or gain, but it’s also important to know their body shape, as this helps to tell you if they’re the correct weight for their breed, build and size.

How to recognise if your dog is a healthy shape

As owners, we want our pets to stay happy and healthy, so we need to recognise if they’re becoming under or overweight. Follow our simple steps to help you find out whether your pooch is in good shape.

Step 1

First of all, take a good look and feel of your dog’s body. If they are an ideal, healthy weight, you should be able to:

  • See their waist, from the side and from above
  • Feel your dog’s ribs when running your hands over their side
  • Feel the spine and hipbones (but they shouldn’t be sticking out)
  • Feel your dog’s tummy go in, not bulge out
  • Touch the base of your dog’s tail, and there shouldn’t be a build-up of fat

Step 2

Once you’ve had a good look and feel, select the image below that best represents your pooch’s body shape.


You will notice:

  • A very tucked in waist
  • They’re visibly bony (you can see their hips, ribs, backbone)
  • A lack of muscle (they look lean)
  • None, or very little body fat

Ideal weight

You will notice:

  • An obvious waist, an ‘hourglass’ shape
  • You can feel their ribs and backbone with a light touch, but you shouldn’t be able to see them (unless they’re breeds like Whippets or Greyhounds)


You will notice:

  • No visible waist (from the side or above)
  • You can only feel their ribs if you apply pressure (if not at all, they may be very overweight)
  • Fat pockets around their neck, shoulders, hips and base of their tail

For more top tips and expert vet advice on how to improve your pet’s diet and exercise regime, download our free Weigh Up diet and exercise guide.