It’s January. Let’s take a break from talking about the size of your ass and talk about the size of your dog’s for just a minute. Did you know that keeping your dog at her ideal weight can add actual years on to her life? It’s true, a 14-year study by Purina found that dogs fed to their ideal body condition lived 1.8 years longer, on average, than their overweight littermates. (That’s 12.6 Dog Years if you’re struggling with the math.)
It’s probably not a news flash to you that an overweight dog isn’t a great idea, but it’s that “ideal weight” part that can get tricky. How do you even determine your dog’s ideal weight? The last time you tried to google it, you found a bunch of tables and graphs that pretty much said your dog should probably weigh somewhere between 45 and 83 pounds, which is about as helpful as saying the ideal time to get engaged is somewhere between the second date and the third child together. (Thanks, Google.)
The key is to forget about a number on a scale and use a couple of simple assessments to determine the ideal for your particular dog. (In fact, this is how most vets assess weight, too.) Basically, you just have to look and feel to figure it out. No math necessary. Phew.
Look: standing over your dog, you should be able to see a natural curve between ribs and hips, defining an obvious waistline. From the side, you should see another natural upward curve from the ribs to the hips. If these curves are too dramatic, it indicates your dog is too lean; if there is no curve into a natural waistline, your dog is too heavy.
Feel: move your fingers over your dog’s ribs. You should be able to feel each rib with a little layer of fat over them. If your dog’s individual ribs are obvious by sight without any touching, your dog is too lean; if it’s hard to even determine your dog has ribs at all because of fat, your dog is too heavy.
Check out this breakdown, if you’re a “visual learner.”
Basically, you want your dog to look like the Kate Winslet of her breed--healthy, naturally proportioned, without going to extremes. (And Kate, if happen to be reading this, we mean this as the highest possible compliment. You are, in every way, ideal.)
See? It’s that simple.
(When to get engaged is something else entirely. We can’t help you with specifics, but a good rule of thumb is What Would Kate Winslet Do?)