Veterinarian-written / veterinarian-approved articles for your dog.

Hands-On Guide to Checking if Your Dog Is at a Good Weight

You can check if your pup is too plump or too thin right at home. All you need is a good eye and hands willing to pet. (The checking system will be accepted by your beloved dog because it involves his favorite thing, attention.)

Illustrations Are of Adult Dogs

What you will see and feel if your dog is too thin:

  • Ribs:You can see bones protruding and do not feel a small amount of muscle/fat over them when you run your hands along your dog's sides.
  • Base of Tail: When looking at the base of the tail you see bones sticking out and do not feel a small layer of fat/muscle covering the base when you run your hands along it.
  • Spine: When looking from above you see bones protruding and do not feel a small layer of fat/muscle covering the spine when you run your hands along your dog's back.
  • Waist: When looking at dog the from above you notice an extreme waist line and bones are visible.
  • Abdominal Tuck: When looking at your dog from the side you see a severe tuck under the ribs.

Emaciated Dog

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Thin Dog

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What you will see and feel if your dog is at a healthy weight:

  • Ribs: When running your hands along your dog's side you can easily feel the ribs while also feeling a small amount of fat covering them.
  • Base of Tail:When feeling the base of your dog's tail you notice a small layer of fat and it is smooth to the touch.
  • Spine:When running your hands along your dog's back you should be able to feel the spine and a small layer of muscle/fat covering it.
  • Waist: When looking at your dog from above you see a visible waist line just behind the ribs.
  • Abdominal Tuck: When looking at your dog from the side the area behind the ribs is visibly smaller than the chest.

Healthy-Weight Dog

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What you will see and feel if your dog is overweight:

  • Ribs: When running your hands along your dog's ribs you cannot easily feel the ribs or feel them at all.
  • Base of Tail: When feeling the base of the tail there is a large amount of fat covering it and no bones are felt.
  • Spine: When running your hands along your dog's back no bones are easily felt below a layer of fat.
  • Waist: When looking at your dog from above no waist is seen or if the area between the ribs and hips protrudes.
  • Abdominal Tuck: When looking at your dog from the side there is no visible tuck behind the ribs or if there is a layer of low hanging fat

Fat Dog

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Obese Dog

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Obesity in Dogs: Overview of Causes and Dangers

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Disclaimer: This website is not intended to replace professional consultation, diagnosis, or treatment by a licensed veterinarian. If you require any veterinary related advice, contact your veterinarian promptly. Information at DogHealth.com is exclusively of a general reference nature. Do not disregard veterinary advice or delay treatment as a result of accessing information at this site.