Keeping your dog’s weight in check

It sounds obvious, but pets who eat too much and don’t exercise enough, get fat! If you feed your dog a lot of treats as well as their normal food, most of the extra calories will turn into fat.

It’s easy to miss the extra inches creeping on over time. There’s also confusion about what a healthy shape is and tubby terriers or rotund retrievers are increasingly being viewed as normal.

Looking at your dog’s shape is the best way to tell if they’re putting on weight. Dogs come in all different builds and sizes but a healthy shape is the same for every dog. The veterinary term for this is “body condition scoring”.

You can give your dog a ‘body conditioning’ check over at home by looking and feeling:

  • Look at your dog from the side and from above. They should have a neat, tucked in waist.
  • Feel under your dog’s tummy. It should go in, not bulge out.
  • Feel Along your dog’s back and sides. You should be able to easily feel their ribs, spine and hips but they shouldn’t poke out.
  • Feel the base of your dog’s tail. You shouldn’t be able to feel a build-up of fat where their tail meets their body.

For more information on obesity in dogs, visit our Pet Health Hub.

Your vet can show you how to do this check on your dog or watch our vet, Rebecca, give her fluffy volunteer, Jesse, a quick weight check:

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