How can I tell if my dog is too fat or too skinny?
Determining whether your dog is overweight, underweight, or at an ideal weight involves understanding the standard body condition for dogs. Here are some key signs that you can look for:
1. **Rib Check**: Run your hands along your dog's side - you should be able to feel their ribs without pressing too hard. If you can't feel your dog's ribs without pressing, there's too much fat. But if the ribs are visible to the eye, then the dog might be underweight.
2. **Profile Check**: Look at your dog's profile. The abdomen should be tucked up, and there should be a noticeable waist behind the ribs when you view your dog from the side. If the abdomen is sagging or there is no noticeable waist, your dog might be overweight.
3. **Overhead Check**: When you look at your dog from above, you should be able to see a distinct waist. If the back is broad and flat like a table, then your dog may be overweight.
4. **Tail Base**: You should be able to feel the base of the tail with only a thin layer of fat separating the bones from the skin. If you cannot feel this because the area is too thick, then your dog might be overweight.
5. **Underweight Signs**: Dogs that are too thin might have visible vertebrae, ribs, and pelvic bones. If there's very little to no fat on their bodies, and their bones are highly visible, they may be underweight.
6. **Obese Signs**: On the other end of the spectrum, obese dogs might have no discernible waist, and their stomachs may appear distended. You may not be able to feel their ribs, tail bases, or other bones.
These are general guidelines. Remember that different breeds have different body shapes, so what's normal for one breed might not be for another. If you're unsure about your dog's weight, it's always best to consult with your veterinarian. They can provide breed-specific advice and help you devise a healthy diet and exercise plan if necessary.