Quick Ways to Check if Your Dog is Overweight

Obesity is a major issue not only in humans but in dogs as well. Feedings your dog too much, as many eager owners might do, can actually harm them quite a bit. Plus, pet dogs are prone to not getting enough exercise, so they might lead a sedentary life that contributes to their obesity.

Around a quarter of all dogs in the United States are now obese. This is a staggering statistic that doesn’t bode well for canine health in general. Many people think of a chubby dog as being cute and healthy, even though being overweight can lead to shorter lives and disturbing health issues.

Since many dog owners may not notice the signs of obesity until it’s too late, here are a few quick methods to check if your pup is getting too big for their own good:

Examine the Ribs

Determine your dog’s body condition score or BCS by pressing on their rib cage. Ideally, there should be a thin barrier of fat on the bones. You should be able to feel and see those ribs without too much effort. If the fat is thicker and you have to press hard to reach the ribs, there’s a high likelihood of obesity or excess weight.

Perform the same check on the spine, hips, and shoulders. There shouldn’t be any major fat deposits in these regions. You should be able to feel the bones with a little pressing.

Tail Base

Check the base of the dog’s tail, which comes at the spine’s end. This area should be smooth, with just a bit of fat covering it. If there’s any excess fat, making it hard to feel the tail base, your dog’s probably obese.

Identify the Waist

Just like humans, dogs should also ideally have a waist. When your dog stands up to beg or reach for something, take a look at its waist. This should be a smaller width of the body locating between the ribs and the hips.

If this hourglass-like figure isn’t apparent, you may conclude that the dog is obese. However, this shape might be difficult to see if the dog has a very thick and shaggy fur coat. Also, keep in mind that some dog breeds are naturally susceptible to rotundity or roundness. They might hence display less of an hourglass figure than other, sleeker breeds.

Abdomen Tuck

Sit by your dog when he’s lying on the floor, and make sure that you’re at his level as much as possible. Now check his abdomen, the part behind the rib cage. This part should be a little tucked up, meaning higher than the rib cage’s bottom.

To check more properly, run your hand alongside the rib cage toward the abdomen. If your hand starts curing to the dog’s back, they have the tuck and are therefore at a healthy weight. If your hand keeps going straight, your dog is probably facing obesity.

It may help to run one hand (palm side up) along the bottom of his rib cage towards his abdomen—if your hand curves up towards your dog’s back, then he has an abdominal tuck. If your hand goes in a straight line, he has no tuck and is likely obese.

Difficulty Grooming

All dogs should be able to groom and scratch themselves. If they can’t reach certain areas of their body, without any other underlying condition, the most common reason is probably their weight. Obese dogs would probably not be able to reach around when they need to, thus requiring a helping hand.


Some dog owners might be under the misconception that they can determine a dog’s obesity by looking at their weight. Just the weight, though, isn’t an accurate indicator of obesity, as these factors should also include age, sex, general build, breed, and many others.

If you do find out that your dog is obese, consult a vet to make up a proper diet plan for them. On your own, you should start taking them out for more exercise and make sure they get a healthy diet without any excess or fattening food. A little effort in this area will soon result in a more active, happier, and healthier dog.

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