The healthy dog ​​weight and body condition


While weighing your dog and regularly monitoring his or her weight is a good idea, it can be difficult because there are huge differences between breeds and it is not always easy to know what is right for your pet. This is where evaluating the dog’s body condition can make work easier.

What is the condition of the dog’s body?

A dog’s body condition assessment can help you gauge the amount of fat your dog is carrying. At home, this is easy to do without a scale, and problems in overweight dogs can be identified before the scale changes much. In addition, the scale applies to almost all types of dogs, so you can easily check them in between visits to the vet to see if they’re big, small, wiry, or extremely furry!

Why is evaluating the dog’s body condition important?

Owning a dog means keeping track of your dog’s body rating and working to maintain an “ideal” rating of four or five at all stages of your dog’s life. This can also reduce the risk of the health problems associated with owning an overweight dog. These include arthritis, heart disease, and even diabetes, which means not only huge vet bills but also an unhappy, uncomfortable dog – more reason than ever to get her in shape!

Like humans, everyone processes their food in slightly different ways, especially depending on their age and activity level. If your dog is getting more calories than he needs, those excess calories can be stored as fat, which in the worst case scenario can lead to obesity in dogs.

“When you learn how to conduct a body condition assessment for your pet and evaluate it regularly, combined with adequate diet and exercise, you can do your best for your pet’s health and wellbeing,” says Zara Boland, Purina’s veterinarian.

Some specific problems puppies can develop from being overweight include:

  • Arthritis, joint damage and joint pain
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Reduced resilience and endurance
  • Increased anesthetic and surgical risks
  • Reduced liver function due to fatty liver
Dog with happy owners

How is the dog’s body condition score measured?

Assessing your dog’s body condition is really easy if you follow a few simple steps. A scale from one to nine is used, with one representing “very underweight” and nine representing “very overweight”.

A dog body condition between four and five is considered ideal – not too big and not too small. This is where you should aim to get your dog. To determine your dog’s current body condition score, you should check three areas.

1 rib check:

Make your dog comfortable and run both hands over his chest, one hand on either side (your dog will likely think he’s enjoying a nice stroke!). Just write down how it feels and compare it to the table

2 profile test:

Look at your standing dog from a side angle. It is best to be eye level with your pet so that you can get the most accurate view.

3 overhead check:

Look down at your standing dog from above.

Purina Dog Body Condition Score Tool

Many people are not sure what exactly is a healthy weight for a dog. So how can you tell if your pet is the right size for their breed and type? Just follow these simple steps to check your dog’s body condition and ideal size. You can even print a copy and stick it on your fridge for permanent reference. Easy!

Use the slider below to select the picture that most closely matches your dog and we will tell you if he is underweight, overweight or just right.

Dog outside

PURINA® Body Condition Tool

Our dog body conditioning tool was developed by pet care experts to help you determine if your dog is a healthy size. We try to avoid stressing only weight, which can be misleading. The dog’s body condition assessment tool encourages you to take your dog in your hand and feel how he judges his real size under his beautiful coat! It is also recommended to look at your dog from every angle for an all-round view before deciding whether he is a healthy shape and size. Be patient and gentle – your dog may not be used to being treated this way, but don’t worry, he will get used to it soon.

How can you find out your dog’s body condition?

Your dog is too thin if:

  • You have ribs, lumbar vertebrae, pelvic bones, and other protruding bones (which you can see the shape of) that are visible from a distance. You have no noticeable body fat and an apparent loss in muscle mass.
  • Your dog’s ribs, lumbar vertebrae and pelvic bones are clearly visible. You have no palpable fat with some prominent bones, but minimal loss of muscle mass.
  • You have an underweight dog if its ribs are easily felt (felt) and can be seen with no tangible fat covering them. The tips of their lumbar vertebrae are visible, their pelvic bones are highlighted, and they have a protruding waist.

Your dog’s body rating is ideal if:

  • You can feel your ribs without covering too much fat. Your waist should be clearly visible from above (look for an hourglass shape), and your stomach (the part of your underside just in front of your back legs) should be pulled up towards your pelvis when viewed from one side.

Your dog is overweight if:

  • Your ribs are palpable, but with a slight excess of fat. Your waist can be seen from above, but not protruding, and a tummy tuck can be seen.
  • You have an overweight dog if you have trouble feeling the ribs because of a heavy layer of fat in the way. There are noticeable deposits of fat over her lumbar spine and the base of her tail. Her waistline is absent or barely noticeable, and her tummy tuck may or may not be present.
  • Your dog’s ribs will not be felt under a very heavy layer of fat, or will only be felt if you apply considerable pressure. There are heavy deposits of fat over the lumbar spine and the base of their tail. Your waistline is missing without a tummy tuck. Obvious abdominal expansion may be present (her belly is large and sagging a little).
  • They have massive deposits of fat over their rib cage, spine, and base of their tail. Their waist and tummy tuck are missing and they have fat deposits on their necks and limbs. There is obvious stomach ache (her stomach sags).

Is my puppy overweight?

If your dog is still a puppy, his plump body may be a sign of utter cuteness. But keep these extra rolls of puppy fat in mind as they may also predict a future overweight adult dog. As puppies grow, they tend to get leaner. So, you can expect your puppy’s body shape to change as they reach their teenage years and move on to adulthood. This is one of the reasons why owners have a hard time telling the fluff from the fat for the first 12 to 18 months of their puppy’s life. This is where the body conditioning tool of the dog helps. So pay particular attention to how palpable the ribs are and whether the waist and tummy tuck are visible. A tiny belly is usually expected in puppies. However, don’t hesitate to consult your vet if you think the puppy fat is more stubborn than expected.

More tips for assessing your dog’s body condition

Do you need more help? Purina-based veterinarian Zara Boland shows how dog owners can measure their dog’s current body condition and rates your dog’s body rating in three easy steps. It only takes a minute to determine if your dog is underweight, overweight, or just right.

Check out a short video from Purina’s vet Zara on how to check your dog’s body condition

Interpretation of the Dog Body Condition Tool Results

The ideal dog body condition rating is leaner than you might think. In fact, pet owners tend to dramatically underestimate their puppy’s weight. Every single dog needs a different food, a different amount of food and a different amount of exercise. Depending on their body shape, size, and breed, two puppies can actually be the same weight, but one can be overweight and one can be underweight.

Now that you have determined your dog’s body condition score, it is time to start thinking about what steps to take as a responsible dog owner. If your dog is over or underweight, ask your veterinarian for advice on how to get him back into shape.

Once your dog is where he should be, life will be even more exciting for him than ever – and he will have so much more energy, fun and excitement to share with you!

For more useful information, check out our guides on feeding your dog and the information you need for your first trip to the vet. Or, check out the rest of our in-depth dog health articles for more helpful tips.

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If you would like more information about our tool for conditioning the dog’s body or have any further questions, please contact our PETCARE EXPERT TEAM

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