No matter your level of experience, if you are a dog owner, you might look at your companion and wonder to yourself, “How heavy should my dog be?” We all want to be sure we are keeping our little family members healthy and happy, but due to so much variation in dog breeds, you might come across a lot of different answers while doing your research. After all, toy breeds and smaller breeds such as the Yorkshire Terrier will be significantly smaller than a German Shepard or other large breeds.
In reality, there is no straightforward answer to exactly what a healthy body weight might be. Still, various things can help you determine the right weight for your dog without too much guesswork or relying on potentially misleading generalizations.
How Heavy Should My Dog Be?
Like people, every dog is a unique individual with its own specific needs. These needs can vary drastically depending on several factors often not immediately apparent to us.
A dog’s breed greatly impacts a healthy weight, as does the mix and gender. Larger dog breeds will naturally fall into a higher weight, while a small dog breed tends to be lower. But it can be even more complicated to figure out with mixed breed dogs, as even the balance of their mix is a determining factor in finding an ideal body weight.
Dogs of the same breed can even have a different average weight too, and many breed sizes will often fall into a different ideal weight range than you might expect. Dog breeds at a certain age can even have different healthy weight ranges to keep up with, as a puppy’s weight tends to change rapidly compared to the changes in that same dog’s adult weight.
With so much variation, it seems nearly impossible to figure out an ideal body weight based solely on a simple dog weight chart. So what guidelines can dog owners use to find an ideal weight for their dog?
How Can I Tell If My Dog is Overweight?
With so much determining what is considered a healthy weight, you’re probably wondering how you can tell if your dog is overweight. While puppy weight charts exist and can be useful in determining this for specific breeds, this method becomes much less reliable as your dog grows.
According to the body condition system, created as a general guide by veterinarians, we can classify a dog’s weight based on specific visual signs corresponding to a number referred to as a body condition score.
Being that this is only a guideline, consulting your pet’s veterinarian is recommended, but these are some common ways to tell if your dog is overweight:
- Ribs are difficult to see/touch and are covered by a layer of fat
- Waist is not easily visible
- No abdominal tuck
- Fat deposits over the lumbar or base of the tail
- Abdomen distended
- Large fat deposits on spine and thorax
- Fat deposits on the neck and limbs
Can Being Overweight or Heavy Affect My Dog’s Health?
Unfortunately, an overweight dog may be more likely to experience health issues due to its weight. Too much weight can negatively impact several aspects of their well-being, such as:
- Joint strength
- Heart health
- Energy levels
- Lowered heat tolerance
- Life span
Being overweight can impact many aspects of a dog’s life, unnecessarily making simple things like running and playing more difficult while decreasing their ability to stay healthy long into their lives.
What Can I Do To Help My Dog Gain Weight?
Sometimes you also might see your dog lose weight. Fluctuation in weight is relatively normal; however, it is important to have a rough idea of how much to be sure there is no significant difference in your dog’s body weight. Alongside general dog care, if your dog begins experiencing weight loss, there are ways to help them get back to an appropriate weight.
It is recommended to bring your dog to the veterinarian to determine any underlying causes for your dog’s weight loss.
If your dog is a picky eater, you might notice occasional weight loss. If they seem uninterested in the standard meal of dry kibble, try adding a can of wet food to their meal for some extra calories and additional moisture, both of which can be good additions to a diet focused on healthy weight gain.
The wet food will provide extra nutrition to promote a balanced weight while giving them a tasty bit of encouragement to regain their interest in dog food. Depending on how much weight your pet needs to gain, this can be an easy and effective method to keep adult size dogs at a happy and healthy weight.
Increase Feeding Frequency
Dividing up mealtimes can be a good way to encourage your dog to eat more throughout the day. Dividing meals will have them intaking nutrients more consistently to promote a steady increase in weight over time without overfeeding your furry friend and potentially upsetting their stomach. It is recommended to split mealtimes into 3-4 sessions to get your pet on a consistent meal schedule.
A dog might lose its appetite for many different reasons, they could be sick, anxious, or experiencing negative thoughts or feelings. Like us, they are unique individuals, with their own dynamic lives and changing needs. CBD-based products could be a good option for relieving your dog from these discomforts while encouraging a natural appetite.
CBD is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid compound, meaning it has no euphoric qualities. CBD is typically well-tolerated by dogs and humans alike and can provide a host of holistic wellness benefits. When consumed, CBD can help boost appetite and promote a consistent eating schedule, making it a great choice for dogs of any breed needing additional weight.
You can give CBD to your dog in several ways through available products such as:
- Soft Chews
What Can I Do To Help My Dog Maintain Weight?
Altering your dog’s weight to ensure they are neither too heavy nor too skinny can be an important aspect of maintaining its well-being, but sometimes what is needed more than gaining or losing weight is maintaining a consistent weight range for your dog. It can be difficult to stay up to date in tracking your dog’s weight, but perseverance and proper planning can help ensure you are practicing good dog care.
Activities encouraging steady exercise can greatly benefit any dog owner looking to help their pet maintain a consistent weight. Exercise is a fun way to help the body regulate its weight. It does this naturally by burning off extra calories while encouraging a healthy appetite to compensate for energy spent being active! Because most dogs are active, curious pets, exercise might not just help your dog stay in a good weight range but could also increase their happiness overall.
Healthy eating is another essential component in maintaining a good body condition score for your dog. A balanced and nutritious diet can go a very long way in assuring dogs of any breed size hold an appropriate weight. We want to give our pets the best quality food we can to ensure they receive all of the important nutrients they need to be the happy, healthy friends we love so dearly.
It is important to give your dog a well-balanced diet, and so when encouraging weight gain, be sure to select foods encouraging a slow, steady weight gain. Try giving your dog nutritious foods like pumpkin or sweet potato, and if you really need to bulk your dog up, look for a protein-packed kibble with healthy fats.
Final Thoughts – How Heavy Should My Dog Be?
As we have seen, lots of different things can help influence how heavy a dog should be. Mixed breed dogs might differ greatly from each other, much in the same way a purebred puppy from one breed might have entirely different average weights than a puppy from another. Small dogs and larger breeds will have drastically different needs, making generalized approaches insufficient for creating a “one size fits all” approach to figuring out how heavy a dog should be.
For example, larger dogs are naturally expected to have much different adult weights than the not-so-giant breeds. The exercise and nutrition requirements for a Great Dane are much different than that of a Shih Tzu. So when trying to figure out what weight your dog should be, remember is that each dog has its own unique needs and requirements!