When it comes to your pet’s weight, it’s often easy to forget about checking their weight regularly. Some owners may even be unaware of the healthy weight range for their furry friends. It’s generally more difficult to tell when a dog is overweight and other pets compared to human beings.
A useful tool you can use to keep track of your pet’s weight is by using dog weight charts. Using these charts, you will take into account the breed, sex, and age of your pup compared to their weight, thus giving you a reading of whether or not they are healthy, underweight, or overweight. We’ll talk more about these charts and discuss why maintaining a healthy weight is so essential for your dog.
What Is a Dog Weight Chart?
A dog weight chart is a table of values, often by breed, of average weight approximations. Some charts only include the average weight a dog should be according to breed and sex. Anything outside the ranges listed means your pet’s weight is concerning and should be monitored. Other dog weight charts include underweight ranges, healthy weight ranges, overweight ranges, and obesity ranges.
If your dog falls under the obese range, this is more concerning than being slightly overweight. There is a higher risk of cardiovascular issues when it comes To obese dogs.
You can also use a dog weight chart to check your pet’s weight regularly and if you think he has ingested potentially harmful amounts of everyday toxins such as chocolate. Following the chart can help you determine whether your dog will need that emergency trip to the veterinarian because he has gotten his paws on too much of something he shouldn’t.
There are various examples of dog weight charts online that suitable for you and your fur baby. It is wise to check and note down your pup’s weight every so often, even though the veterinarian is likely to double-check this during your dog’s check-ups. Your findings will help you decide if you need to cut back on how much you feed your pet or how much weight they will need to gain to reach a healthy weight range.
Why Does a Dog’s Weight Matter?
A question that has crossed our minds at some point is why a dog’s weight matters so much. Weight in pets is more than a cosmetic issue. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), 54% of America’s cats and dogs are overweight.
Much like childhood obesity, by the time most people recognize the problem, it’s too late. Additionally, weight changes can increase the risk of certain diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, among others. Therefore this reinforces the importance of checking your dog’s weight regularly to detect these problems early enough.
The Main Problem With Overweight Dogs
Excessive weight gain can lead to obesity in dogs, and there are two main issues associated with obese dogs: health and money. Obese pets have a shorter life expectancy that also leads to low-quality lives. Some of the significant health issues associated with obesity include osteoarthritis, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart, and respiratory disease, kidney disease, and numerous cancer types.
Along with the health issues comes the sheer amount of money you will spend to care for your obese pup. It is estimated that obese pets cost their fur parents tens of millions of dollars in unnecessary medical bills. Vets express that the vet care expenses associated with overweight pets can be eliminated if people make smarter food choices for their beloved pets.
Body Condition Scores
There are universal guidelines set to help people see beyond the number on the scales, and instead by what you see and feel. These guidelines can help you judge whether your fur baby is within their ideal body weight range. The nine-point system is referred to by vets as the ‘Body Condition Score (BCS),’ with 4-5 being considered the perfect weight.
It’s worth pointing out that moving from a 9 to a 7 in terms of these body condition scores is likely to be considered a positive change. But if your dog’s weight loss score moves from 4 to 2, then this can be deemed as a potential health issue to be investigated by your vet, as your dog will have moved from a healthy weight to an unhealthy weight.
What Should I Do If My Pet Is Underweight?
If your pet is underweight, i.e., has a Body Condition Score of 3 and below, a veterinarian should examine their weight to ensure that there are no underlying diseases. If their weight loss is not due to illness, your vet will guide you toward more calorie-dense food and an increased feeding regime that will help you meet your pet’s energy demands and help them to pile the weight back on.
What Should I Do If My Pet Is Slightly Overweight Or Chubby?
Benefits associated with restricting food intake are increasing in scientific interest, and the idea of this has been proven to have benefits for dogs too. This is not to say that you shouldn’t feed your dog enough. Instead, it demonstrates the clear benefits of not feeding your pet too much; dogs fed restricted amounts have been found to live longer and had fewer associated health issues than dogs with BCS of moderately overweight (6-7).
As for your dog chubbiness, just as mentioned before, obesity is becoming an ever-more present problem. Excessive fat leads to unnecessary health problems, which in turn cause unnecessary vet bills.
These diseases limit the length of your dog’s life, and can also reduce its quality. Ensuring that your pet is at a healthy weight will be beneficial when they are older. Arthritis, which is associated with old age, will likely be less severe, making your pup’s final years as comfortable as possible.
If you feel that your pet would benefit from some weight loss, you can consult your veterinarian for advice and support on the matter. They will help you start your dog on a sustainable yet enjoyable diet. Embarking on a weight-loss program and sticking to it can be difficult, especially if your dog manipulates you by staring longingly up at you with those puppy eyes.
All fur parents use food as a means of communication to our pets. We tell our pets how much we love them by giving them good food. We also reward them for good behavior with snacks and treats. Nonetheless, it would be best if you did not succumb to your pup’s tricks. The weight-loss is for their own good.
An effective weight loss program, therefore, requires commitment from all family members. It would be best if you feed your fur baby on a balanced diet that matches their lifestyle. For example, if your dog is active, they will burn more energy and will, therefore, need more food than a dog living a rather sedentary lifestyle. You can easily find low-calorie and high-fiber diets in pet stores.
When your pet is on a diet, it is even more essential to weigh them regularly to adjust their diet accordingly. If your pet is underweight even though you feed them regularly, don’t hesitate to contact your veterinarian for an examination.