Keeping an eye on your dog’s magic number (the ideal weight for their breed and age) is super important.
If you know your dog’s weight, it’s easier to work out how much food they should eat, or the amount of wormer they need.
How often should I be weighing my dog?
Just like us, a dog’s weight changes as they grow older (middle-aged spread, anyone?)
It can also change according to their activity levels, so it’s no use weighing them once every few years! Once every 3 months is about right.
What changes to their physique should I be looking out for?
Short-haired dogs like Dalmatians or Greyhounds make it easier to see any weight gain /loss, but long-haired breeds such as Rough Collies or Yorkshire Terriers can hide changes until they become drastic.
One of the easiest ways to spot changes by sight is to take a look at your dog from above.
You should be able to see a waistline above its hips, as their sides curve in slightly.
Any change to this shape is a good indicator that they may be eating too much food, or indulging in a few too many treats!
If you use treats for rewards-based training, and you are concerned about the impact on your dog’s weight, give our Itch Low-Fat dog treats a try with your next Itch order.
How do I know what my dog’s ideal weight is?
Different dog breeds have guidelines as to the ideal weight ranges they should be to be considered healthy.
If your dog is a crossbreed, you can take the average weight from both breeds to find the range your dog should fall within.
How do I weigh my dog at home?
To make sure your results are as accurate as possible, there are a few things you need to do before weighing your dog at home:
- If you dog wears a collar, make sure they are wearing the same one each time
- Take them out for a wee (and a poo if possible!) before their weigh in
- Avoid weighing just after they have eaten or had a drink of water – you need their tummy to be empty
- Weigh them at the same time of day each time
- Don’t weigh them after a bath or a walk in bad weather – you need their fur to be completely dry
Using the bathroom scales
You may be looking at your bathroom scales and wondering how exactly you are going to get your sizeable, clumsy Labrador to stand on something so small.
Luckily, there is an easier way – but you’ll need to get those muscles flexing if you own a larger dog!
On a flat surface, weigh yourself on your bathroom scales and make a note of your weight.
(And don’t worry, nobody but you and your dog will need to know your magic number 😉)
Next, pick up your dog, and step back on the scales while holding them.
It can be difficult to see the number on the scales while doing this, so it’s a good idea to ask a friend or family member to read it out to you.
Put your slightly confused (and probably excited) dog back on the floor, and subtract the first number (your weight) from the second number (you and your dog together).
The answer is your dog’s weight.
Health and Safety first – don’t try this at home with a Doberman!
While your dog’s health is important, yours is too, so don’t try to do this method at home if you have a 45kg Doberman or Great Dane tipping the scales!
We don’t want to be responsible for putting anyone’s back out, and we’re sure you wouldn’t want that, either!
If you have a very large dog, or even a medium-sized dog that you suspect is heavier than they should be, don’t try to weigh them at home.
Instead, use the large, walk-on scales that most vets will have in their waiting areas.
Getting your dog used to being weighed
Getting your dog used to being weighed from a young age is important, and you can use rewards-based training to help with this.
Many dogs who feel anxious at the vets or around weighing scales have actually inherited their nerves from their owners, so try to make it a fun game by encouraging them to stand on the scales to receive a treat.
With time and patience, weighing your dog will become a pleasant experience for you both, and you’ll be able to easily weigh your dog regularly, with no fuss and maximum smug-pet-parent points!
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