If you've ever wondered if your dog is at a healthy weight, you're not alone. In fact, it's one of the most common questions that pet owners have! It's true that there are no specific guidelines for what constitutes a "normal" or ideal weight for dogs—in fact, researchers haven't even agreed on a single way to measure obesity in humans—but there are some general guidelines that can help you determine if your pup's body mass index (BMI) is ideal or not. Here are some simple things to look out for when determining whether your pooch is at a healthy weight:

Is your dog eating too much?

If your dog is eating too much, they may be overweight. If a dog is overweight, they may have a higher risk of health problems such as arthritis and joint problems.

If your dog is overweight, you can help them lose weight by feeding them less food than their daily caloric maintenance requirement (see below). To find out what that number looks like for your pooch:

  • Subtract 5-10% from their current bodyweight in pounds to get the amount of calories per day needed for maintenance (the number under "Calories/day").

  • Then multiply this value by an activity factor (AF) based on how active they are compared to an average adult Labrador Retriever; this gives us an estimate of how many calories should be provided daily during weight loss efforts: AF = 1 if inactive AF = 1-1/2 if lightly active AF = 2 if moderately active AF = 2-3/4 if very active

Does your dog have a normal waistline?

This can be tricky to determine, because it varies from breed to breed. If your dog has a normal waistline and the ribs are visible but not prominent, then your dog is probably at a healthy weight. If you can't see her ribs at all and she has a bulging abdomen, though, she may be overweight or obese. If she has hips that stick out or look like they're about to pop out of her skin (which could indicate hip dysplasia), then she may need to lose some pounds too.

The best way I've found for determining whether my pup's got an ideal waistline is by checking in on her every day when she wakes up from napping during these warm summer months--and even during winter! The best time for weighing yourself is first thing in the morning before eating breakfast or drinking coffee/water/etc., so this works well with dogs who prefer taking afternoon naps on their backs rather than sleeping upright like cats do (I'm looking at YOU Tigger!)

Can the veterinarian feel your dog's ribs?

If your veterinarian can feel your dog's ribs, but not see them, then it's likely that he or she is in the ideal weight range. If the ribs are visible and the veterinarian can't feel them, then it's likely that your pup has a little less fat on his frame than he should have--and that could be problematic if you're trying to keep him at a healthy weight.

If your dog gets too heavy for his frame (which often happens when owners overfeed), he'll develop health problems like joint issues and breathing difficulties because there won't be enough room for all those extra pounds inside his body!

Are you able to feel your dog's ribs when he or she is sitting in your lap?

If you're able to feel your dog's ribs when he or she is sitting in your lap, then it's time to start making some changes. If a dog is underweight, his or her body won't be able to function properly because it doesn't have enough fat and muscle tissue for energy.

If you can't feel any ribs when petting your dog, this could mean that they are overweight and their bones may become weak over time if they don't lose weight.

Does your dog have a waistline that is easily visible?

If you can see your dog's waistline, then he or she is probably at a healthy weight. A dog with too much fat around his or her middle will have trouble breathing and moving around comfortably. If your dog has no visible waistline, it might be time to start cutting back on treats and table scraps (or consider switching to a raw diet).

Your veterinarian can help you decide if your dog is at a healthy weight.

Your veterinarian can help you decide if your dog is at a healthy weight. Your vet will take into account factors such as age, breed and whether or not your dog is spayed or neutered.

If your pet appears to be overweight or underweight, ask for suggestions on how to change its diet and exercise routine.


If your dog is overweight, you should talk to your veterinarian about ways to help him or her lose weight. You may need to change his or her diet. If your dog has lost too much weight in a short period of time and looks skinny, it could be a sign of illness or injury. In this case, take him or her to the vet right away!