Once you know what is normal for your dog, you can monitor her size and make minor adjustments to diet and exercise accordingly. Your vet can also help you keep track of and evaluate your dog's weight. To determine whether your dog is overweight, check these five areas:
- Feel the ribs. There should be a thin layer of fat covering the ribs, but you should be able to feel them. If you can see the ribs, your dog is too skinny. If you can't feel the ribs, your pet is obese.
- Examine near the base of your dog's tail. This area should be smooth with a slight covering of fat. If the bones stick out, your pet is too thin, and if you can't feel the bones, your dog is overweight.
- Observe and feel your dog's spine, shoulders and hips. Again, a small amount of fat should comfortably cover these parts. If you can see the bones, your dog is too skinny. When you can't feel the bones at all, you know your pet is too plump.
- Look at your dog from above and look for her waist just behind her ribs. Protruding bones or an extreme waist indentation are signs of excessive thinness. Should the area between the ribs and hips be wider than either the ribs or the hips, then your dog is obese.
- Get a side view of your dog to check out the abdominal tuck, the area between the ribcage and the rear. Deep-chested breeds, like greyhounds, naturally have a distinctive abdominal tuck. A drastic abdominal tuck indicates that your dog is too thin; overweight animals have no abdominal tuck.
Continued on page 3: Getting Fido Fit