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Weight Management in Dogs Made Easy : The Balancing Act


Weight management in dogs is crucial for a healthy dog. An ideal weight keeps your dog happy and active, while helping to prevent a range of health issues. 

Every dog is unique, and what may be an ideal weight for one may not be the same for another. In this guide, we'll provide tips on managing weight, whether it's about shedding excess pounds for obese dogs or gaining weight for undernourished ones.

Weight Management in Dogs Made Easy

Before embarking on your dog’s weight management journey, it's essential to determine your dog's ideal weight. This can be done with the help of your veterinarian, who can assess your dog's overall health and recommend a target weight. However, there are some general guidelines you can follow.

Breed Standards

Some dog breeds have established weight ranges based on breed standards. These can serve as a rough guideline but remember that individual variation is common.

Body Condition Score (BCS)

The BCS is a more accurate way to assess your dog's weight. It involves evaluating your dog's body shape, feeling for ribs, and looking for a visible waistline. A BCS of 4 or 5 (on a 9-point scale) is usually ideal. 

 A BCS of 4 or 5 (on a 9-point scale) is usually ideal.

For a step-by-step guide to establishing your dog’s BCS, read here > Dog Body Condition Score: Is Your Dog at a Healthy Weight? 

Age and Activity Level

Puppies, adult dogs, and seniors may have different ideal weights. Also, consider your dog's activity level when determining their ideal weight.

Tips for Weight Loss in Obese Dogs

Obesity in dogs can lead to various health problems, including diabetes, joint issues, and heart disease. If your dog is overweight, here are some tips to help them shed those extra kilos:

Consult Your Veterinarian

Before starting any weight loss plan, consult your veterinarian. They can rule out any underlying health issues and help you establish a safe target weight.

Balanced Diet

Feed your dog a balanced diet, portioned appropriately for their size and needs. High-fibre and weight management foods can help with satiety. Read more on our Balanced food blog

Regular Exercise

Increase your dog's physical activity. Go for daily walks, play fetch, or engage in interactive games. Gradually increase exercise to avoid overexertion.

Monitor Treats

If you provide your dog with highly processed commercial treats, keep them to 10% or less of your dog’s overall daily calorie intake. Preferably, replace them with natural and healthy options. Also, consider using praise or affection as rewards. For more information on healthy treat options see Functional Treats for Dogs, 10 Healthy Treats for Dogs and Healthy Pet Treats – The Freeze-Dried Way.

PetWell Functional Treats for Cats and Dogs

Slow and Steady

Weight loss should be gradual. Aim for a slow, steady reduction, typically 1-2% of body weight per week.

Weigh and Measure

Keep a food and exercise journal. Measure your dog's food portions and monitor their weight regularly.

Tips for Weight Gain in Undernourished Dogs

Skinny dog Weight Management in Dogs Made Easy  by petwell

Undernourished dogs may be malnourished or suffering from a medical condition. It's essential to identify the underlying cause with your veterinarian before attempting to increase their weight.

Veterinary Assessment

Your vet will perform a thorough examination and may run tests to identify any underlying medical issues.

High-Quality Diet

Switch to high-quality food with a good balance of protein, fat, and fibres. We recommend you consult with a pet nutritionist for a meal plan. Read more on our Balanced food blog

Frequent Feedings

Instead of two large meals, offer smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day. 


Consider adding supplements like omega-3 fatty acids or vitamin-rich foods to the diet. Read more about Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Optimal Pet Health.

Slow, Steady Weight Gain

Avoid overfeeding, as rapid weight gain can be unhealthy. Aim for a gradual increase in weight.

Monitor Progress

Keep track of your dog's weight and overall health. Be in touch with your vet to ensure the weight gain is safe and consistent.

Read for more Top Tips to Keep Your Dog Healthy

As every dog is unique, consulting with a qualified pet nutritionist can be useful in establishing an appropriate meal plan for your dog’s age, breed, and specific needs. 

In Summary

Weight management is a crucial aspect of your dog's overall health and well-being. Whether they need to lose or gain weight, the Body Condition Score (BCS) is a valuable indicator, guiding you toward a balanced diet, appropriate exercise, and regular wellness checks for their overall health. 


The entire contents of this email and website are not to be taken as medical advice. PetWell encourages you to make your own pet healthcare decisions based on your research and in partnership with a qualified pet healthcare professional.

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