Is my puppy underweight?

Puppies are typically born with a certain weight and size. However, as they grow, they may lose weight or gain weight depending on their diet and activity level. If your puppy is noticeably underweight, there may be a medical issue that needs to be addressed. If you think your puppy is underweight, take him to a veterinarian for a check-up.

Dogs must maintain a healthy body weight in order to live an active, healthy life, and it is your responsibility as a dog owner to ensure that they do so. When it comes to your pet's weight, the most important factors to consider are the intensity with which it exercises, the frequency with which it exercises, and, of course, its daily food intake.

Purina Pet Food and professional animal nutritionists conducted an in-depth study in 2002 that revealed that by eating a properly regulated diet, dogs can live nearly two years longer; this is quite a difference considering that the average lifespan of a dog is between ten and thirteen years. There are obvious advantages to keeping your dog's weight at a healthy level, but how do you know if your dog is at the proper weight?

If you are concerned that your dog is underweight or overweight, you can get an accurate answer by visiting a vet or pet nutritionist, but there are a few simple ways to determine if your dog requires a lifestyle change on your own.

Keeping your puppy at their ideal weight is critical to their development as a healthy and happy dog. A chubby puppy can be very cute and cuddly, but if they are overweight at birth, this can easily lead to problems later in life.

On the other hand, you don't want your puppy to be underweight, so make sure you're feeding them the right amount of food to get them through the day and into adulthood.

How to Determine Whether Your Puppy Is Overweight or Underweight

The significance of maintaining a healthy weight

Being underweight or overweight is harmful to the health of any dog. An overweight dog is more likely to develop physical problems later in life, such as arthritis, joint damage, and joint pain. These conditions can prevent your dog from exercising or playing as much as they would like! Obesity in dogs, like in humans, can lead to diabetes, heart disease, and decreased liver function.

If a dog is underweight, it could be due to malnutrition or an underlying illness. Being underweight can expose them to infections, parasites, and nutritional issues. For these reasons, it is critical that you understand how to determine if your dog is at a healthy weight.

What is the ideal weight for my puppy?

Puppies are constantly growing, making it difficult to determine if they are a healthy weight without consulting a veterinarian. Depending on the breed, your vet will be able to advise you on how much your puppy should weigh at various stages of development. They will also weigh them when you bring them in for check-ups or to get their flea and worming treatment, as well as when you visit a Pets at Home store.

However, you don't have to go to the vet to find out because there are several signs you can look for to determine whether your puppy is overweight or underweight.:

Is my puppy overweight?

When looking at your dog from above, signs of obesity include being unable to see or feel their ribs, as well as being unable to see a clear waist behind the ribs.

Is my puppy underweight?

If you can clearly see your puppy's ribs, vertebrae, and pelvic bones and cannot feel any fat on their bones, he or she may be underweight. Because some dogs have extremely thick fur coats that can conceal the ribs, it is critical that you get hands-on!

When viewing an underweight dog, you may notice a very narrow waistline as well as muscle loss around the shoulders and thighs.

What should I do if I'm concerned about the weight of my puppy?

As with anything else concerning your new puppy's health, it's best to seek professional advice from your veterinarian about their weight, as it could be a sign of a more serious underlying condition. You can also visit one of our stores and ask one of our Pets at Home consultants for advice.

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You adore your dog exactly as they are, so you are unlikely to be concerned if they gain a few pounds. However, in terms of health, size does matter!

Although weighing and monitoring your dog's weight on a regular basis is a good idea, it can be difficult because there is a lot of variation between breeds and it's not always easy to know what is best for your pet. This is where dog body condition scoring can help.

 

What is the body condition score of a dog?

Dog body condition scoring allows you to assess the amount of fat your dog is carrying; it is simple to do at home without the use of scales, and it can detect problems in overweight dogs before the scales show a significant change. Furthermore, the scale is applicable to nearly every breed of dog, so you can easily check them in between vet visits whether they're big, small, wiry, or extremely furry!

 

What is the significance of the dog body condition score?

Owning a dog entails monitoring your dog's body score and working to maintain an 'ideal' score of four or five throughout your dog's life. This can also reduce the likelihood of health issues associated with owning an overweight dog. These include arthritis, heart disease, and even diabetes, which not only result in high vet bills but also in an unhappy, uncomfortable dog - all the more reason to get them in shape!

People, like food, process it in slightly different ways, depending on their age and level of activity. If your dog consumes more calories than they require, the excess calories may be stored as fat, potentially leading to dog obesity.

"Learning how to perform a body condition score for your pet and regularly assessing it in conjunction with appropriate nutrition and exercise will ensure you're doing your best for your pet's health and wellbeing," says Zara Boland, Purina's veterinarian.

Some of the specific issues that overweight puppies can develop include:

Is my puppy underweight?

  • Arthritis, joint damage, and joint pain are all symptoms of arthritis.
  • Type 2 diabetes.
  • Heart disease.
  • Reduced exercise endurance and stamina.
  • Increased anaesthetic and surgical risks.
  • Reduced liver function as a result of fatty liver.

How is the body condition score of a dog calculated?

Body condition scoring for your dog is simple if you follow a few simple steps. It employs a one-to-nine scale, with one indicating'very underweight' and nine indicating'very overweight.'.

A dog body condition score of four to five is considered ideal - not too big or too small - and this is where you should aim for your dog. There are three areas you should look at to determine your dog's current body condition score.

1 Rib Check:

Make your dog comfortable and run both of your palms across their ribcage, one hand on each side (your dog will likely think they're getting a nice stroke!) Simply note how it feels and compare it to the chart.

2 Profile Check:

View your standing dog from the side. It's best if you're level with your pet to get the best view.

3 Overhead Check:

From above, look down at your standing dog.

 

Purina Dog Body Condition Score Calculator

Is my puppy underweight?

Many people are unsure of what a healthy weight for a dog is, so how can you tell if your pet is the right size for their breed and type? Simply follow these simple steps to determine your dog's body condition score and ideal size.. Easy!

Select the image that most closely matches your dog from the accordions below, and we'll tell you whether they're underweight, overweight, or just right.

 

Purina Body Condition Tool

1 & 2: Severely underweight and Very Thin

Is my puppy underweight?

Your dog's condition

1. Severely Underweight

  • Ribs, backbone, and hip bones are all clearly visible1, with no fat.
  • Severely exaggerated waistline.
  • Tummy non-existent.

2. Very Thin

  • Ribs and backbone are easily visible due to the lack of an overlying fat layer.
  • Exaggerated waistline.
  • Severe tummy tuck.
  • When view from above.
  • When viewed from the side. If your dog is not in good physical condition, we recommend that you consult a veterinarian to ensure that there is no underlying medical cause for weight loss or gain.

3 & 4. Thin and Slightly Underweight

Is my puppy underweight?

Your dog's condition

3. Thin

  • Ribs, backbone, and hip bones are clearly visible1, with no overlying fat layer.
  • Some mid-muscle loss, particularly around the shoulders and thighs
  • Exaggerated waistline
  • Severe tummy tuck3

4. Slightly Underweight

  • Ribs can be felt and seen, with the backbone and hip bones barely visible and no overlying fat layer.
  • Obvious waistline
  • Marked tummy tuck
  • 1. In short haired dogs.
  • 2. When viewed from above.
  • 3. When viewed from the side.
  • The Nestle Purina Petcare Center developed the Body Condition System, which has been validated in the following publications Kealy RD.2002. JAVMA vol.220, p.1315-1320. Laflamme DP. Canine Practise Jul/Aug 1997; 22:10-15. MawbyD, Bartages JW, Moyers T, and colleagues. Compendium 2001; 23[9A]:70.

5. Ideal Weight

Is my puppy underweight?

Your dog's condition

5. Ideal Weight

  • Ribs are easily felt and may or may not be visible1 due to a thin layer of fat overlying them.
  • The waistline is easily visible.
  • Noticeable tummy tuck
  • 1. In short haired dogs.
  • 2. When viewed from above.
  • 3. When viewed from the side.
  • The Nestle Purina Petcare Center developed the Body Condition System, which has been validated in the following publications Kealy RD.2002. JAVMA vol.220, p.1315-1320. Laflamme DP. Canine Practise Jul/Aug 1997; 22:10-15. MawbyD, Bartages JW, Moyers T, and colleagues. Compendium 2001; 23[9A]:70.

6 & 7. Slightly Overweight and Markedly Overweight

Is my puppy underweight?

Your dog's condition

6. Slightly Overweight

  • Ribs can be felt but not seen, as there is an obvious layer of fat overlying them.
  • The waistline is visible but not clearly defined.
  • Tummy tucks upwards towards the back legs

7. Markedly Overweight

  • Ribs are difficult to feel and see beneath a thickened layer of fat.
  • There are distinct fat pads along the lower back and at the base of the tail.
  • Waistline is missing or difficult to see.
  • 1. In short haired dogs.
  • 2. When viewed from above.
  • 3. When viewed from the side.
  • The Nestle Purina Petcare Center developed the Body Condition System, which has been validated in the following publications Kealy RD.2002. JAVMA vol.220, p.1315-1320. Laflamme DP. Canine Practise Jul/Aug 1997; 22:10-15. MawbyD, Bartages JW, Moyers T, and colleagues. Compendium 2001; 23[9A]:70.

8 & 9. Obese and Clinically Obese

Is my puppy underweight?

Your dog's condition

8. Obese

  • Ribs are difficult to detect beneath a thick layer of overlying fat.
  • Fat pads can be felt running down the back and at the base of the tail.
  • Waistline is absent
  • Tummy sags downwards and bulges outwards3

9. Clinically Obese

  • Ribs are impossible to feel due to a thick layer of fat overlying them.
  • Fat pads that are very chunky can be felt along the back and tail, as well as around the neck and legs.
  • Waistline is absent
  • The tummy bulges outwards and sags noticeably downward3
  • 1. In short haired dogs.
  • 2. When viewed from above.
  • 3. When viewed from the side.
  • The Nestle Purina Petcare Center developed the Body Condition System, which has been validated in the following publications Kealy RD.2002. JAVMA vol.220, p.1315-1320. Laflamme DP. Canine Practise Jul/Aug 1997; 22:10-15. MawbyD, Bartages JW, Moyers T, and colleagues. Compendium 2001; 23[9A]:70.

Our Dog Body Condition Tool, developed by pet care experts, is intended to assist you in determining whether your dog is of a healthy size. We try to avoid focusing solely on weight, which can be misleading. The dog body condition score tool encourages you to touch and feel your dog to truly judge their actual size beneath their lovely coat! It also suggests looking at your dog from every angle to get an all-around view before deciding if they are a healthy shape and size. Be patient and gentle - your dog may not be used to being handled in this manner, but don't worry, they'll get used to it in no time.

 

How do you calculate your dog's body condition score?

If your dog is underweight,:

  • They have ribs, lumbar vertebrae, pelvic bones, and other visible bones (ones with a distinct shape) from a distance. They will have no visible body fat and a noticeable loss of muscle mass.
  • The ribs, lumbar vertebrae, and pelvic bones of your dog are clearly visible. They will have no visible fat, some prominent bones, and only a minor loss of muscle mass.
  • If your dog's ribs are easily palpable (felt) and possibly visible, and there is no palpable fat covering them, he is underweight. The tops of their lumbar vertebrae are visible, as are their pelvic bones, and they have a prominent waist.

If your dog has an ideal body score,:

  • You'll be able to feel their ribs without being covered in fat. Their waist (the part of their underside just in front of their hind legs) should be tucked up towards their pelvis when viewed from one side, and their abdomen (the part of their underside just in front of their hind legs) should be tucked up towards their pelvis when viewed from one side.

Your dog is overweight if:

  • Their ribs are palpable, but with a thin layer of fat covering them. Their waist is visible from above but not prominent, and an abdominal tuck is visible.
  • You have an overweight dog if you can't feel their ribs because a thick fat layer is in the way. There are visible fat deposits in their lumbar region and at the base of their tail. Their waist is absent or barely visible, and they may or may not have an abdominal tuck.
  • Your dog's ribs are not palpable under a thick fat cover, or are palpable only with significant pressure. There are significant fat deposits in their lumbar region and at the base of their tail. They have no waist and no abdominal tuck. There may be obvious abdominal distension (their belly is large and hangs a little).
  • They have massive fat deposits on their thorax, spine, and tail base. They lack a waist and an abdominal tuck, and they have fat deposits on their neck and limbs. There is visible abdominal distention (their stomach hangs).

 

Is my puppy overweight?

If your dog is still a puppy, you may find their chubby frame to be an indication of their adorableness. However, keep an eye out for those extra puppy rolls, as they may predict an overweight adult dog in the future. Puppies tend to slim down as they grow, so you can expect your puppy's body shape to change as they reach adolescence and enter adulthood. This is one of the reasons why owners may struggle to distinguish between fluff and fat in the first 12-18 months of their puppy's life. This is where the dog body condition tool comes in handy, so pay close attention to how palpable their ribs are, as well as whether their waist and abdominal tuck are visible. Puppies typically have a small belly, but consult your veterinarian if you believe the puppy fat is more stubborn than you expected.

 

More advice on determining your dog's body condition

Need more assistance? Purina's resident vet, Zara Boland, shows dog owners how to measure their dog's current body condition and calculate your dog's body score in three simple steps. It takes less than a minute to determine whether your dog is underweight, overweight, or just right.

Watch a short video of Purina's resident veterinarian Zara demonstrating how to assess your dog's body condition.:

How to Assess Your Dog's Body Condition

Is my puppy underweight?

Zara, a veterinarian, demonstrates how to calculate your dog's body condition score.

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Using the Dog Body Condition Tool to Interpret the Results

The ideal body condition score for a dog is leaner than you might think. In fact, pet owners frequently underestimate the weight of their puppies. Each dog will require a different diet, a different amount of food, and varying levels of exercise. Two puppies may weigh the same but be overweight or underweight depending on their body shape, size, and breed.

After you've determined your dog's body condition score, consider what steps you should take as a responsible dog owner. If your dog is overweight or underweight, consult your veterinarian for tips on how to get them back into shape.

Life will be even more exciting for your dog once they are where they should be, and they will have so much more energy, fun, and enthusiasm to share with you!

How can I tell if my puppy is underweight?

How to Tell If Your Dog Is Too Thin .
The ribs are clearly visible or feel as if they are just beneath the skin, with no fat layer between them..
Under the skin, you can easily feel the hip bones, shoulder bones, and spinal cord..
Protruding bones at the base of the tail.

What does a malnourished puppy look like?

Examine your dog to see if they are Instead of a gradual slope, the waist is exaggerated. your dog might be underfed. If you can see or feel the ribs and they don't appear to be fat, your dog is most likely underfed. If your dog is losing patches of hair, there could be a nutritional problem.

Is it dangerous for my puppy to be underweight?

If your dog or cat is underweight, their bodies aren't getting enough nutrients to get them through the day. This can have a negative impact on quality of life, such as being constantly cold, and can lead to more serious issues, such as an increased risk of diabetes or heart disease. .

How can I get my underweight puppy to gain weight?

How to Make a Dog Fat .
Exercises.
Include foods high in protein and fat..
You can supplement your dog's diet with wet/fresh food..
Human Food.
Spread out the meals throughout the day..
Eating before sleeping.