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How To Tell If Your Dog Is Too Fat

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April 01, 2011

How To Tell If Your Dog Is Too Fat

By Chad Love

It's a question that tends to make us a little defensive: is your dog too fat? Chances are, you'll say, "Hell no, and if you call my dog fat again, buddy, I'll show you a fat lip." But the truth is, he might be fatter than you think, as I recently discovered at a seminar at this year's Pheasants Forever Pheasant Fest. The seminar was put on by trainer Dan Hove, from the North American Hunting Retriever Association and the topic was canine first-aid in the field. But since an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, much of Howe's talk centered on proper nutrition and feeding.

Heat-related death is one of the leading causes of death in the field. And a dog's weight, according to Hove, is the number one factor in keeping a working dog cool. Fat, out-of-shape dogs tend to collapse and die. As an example, Hove cited the unusually-warm opening weekend of South Dakota's 2003 pheasant season, when at least 130 gundogs died from heat-related issues. But how can you tell if your dog is uh… a little too…”stout”?

Here are a couple neat and simple tips from Hove: One, look at your dogs profile from above. It should look like an hourglass, with the outline spreading out along the chest, then curving in toward the stomach and back out along the hindquarters. If your dog has a straight profile from front to back, or if it resembles a beach ball, he's too fat. Second, watch your dog run. Generally, you should be able to see a dog's ribs when he's running, but not sitting. And if you can't feel your dog's ribs, then your dog's ribs have too much padding.

So, given the guidelines, is your dog too fat? I'll admit, one of mine was. I, on the other hand, am just big-boned...

Comments (17)

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from VAHunter540 wrote 3 years 2 weeks ago

I have a Brittany, I know she is a little round around the edges; she fails the hour glass test with flying colors. I have been buying more nutritious food and being more exact with her portions but how much daily exercise does she need? 1 hour 3 hours? Do I need to take her out and make her run (play fetch), or is just letting her roam around our 5 acres as she pleases for a few hours a day enough of a workout. Could it be more of a weekly thing, say 3 days a week we play fetch or walk for 30 mins or does it need to be a daily routine.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Joe_Cermele wrote 3 years 2 weeks ago

My dog's not fat, she's husky.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Kyle VanBritson wrote 3 years 2 weeks ago

Haha,sounds to me like American dogs take after mosta their owners...

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from chadlove wrote 3 years 2 weeks ago

And I just wanted to point out that that's not my dog in the picture...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Graycoat Storm wrote 3 years 2 weeks ago

Purina has developed a detailed, easy-to-use chart and index for determining if your dog is underfed, overfed, or properly fed. Just type "Purina Body Condition System" into any internet search engine and it'll direct you to the appropriate site.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from shane wrote 3 years 2 weeks ago

This is very breed specific. Some dogs are should be deathly thin (sighthounds/longdogs). Some shouldn't be (labs, Norwegian elkhounds).

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from shotgunlou wrote 3 years 2 weeks ago

BaaaaaaaaaHaaaaaHaaaaaaHaaaaaaa!!! That pic of that dog is hilarious!!!!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from dogwood wrote 3 years 2 weeks ago

How to tell if your dog is too fat?
When DNR posts signs on your street requiring motorists to motor at idle speed because of "manatee zone".

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ChandlerV1997 wrote 3 years 2 weeks ago

My dog has been fat, but after the diet dog food, she's good now.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jjas wrote 3 years 2 weeks ago

That dog is ridiculous....

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from seadog wrote 3 years 2 weeks ago

Chad, how did you get that picture of my neighbor's dog? LOL

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jamesti wrote 3 years 2 weeks ago

ok, my dog is a little big. i haven't worked him in a few weeks as i have been getting ready for trout season. bad excuse, i know but i will get right back at it.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from chaslee wrote 3 years 2 weeks ago

does this collar make my ars look fat??

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from chaslee wrote 3 years 2 weeks ago

if you have to lift your dog to relieve itself you may have a problem

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from LHistheman wrote 3 years 1 week ago

how do you even let your dogs get like this. take care of them honestly

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jere39 wrote 3 years 1 week ago

Good subject. My French Brittany doesn't just mosey around the yard. I live in the middle of about 60 acres of PA hardwoods. Unfortunately, not nearly enough birds, but plenty of room for my pup to run, and that seems to be the only speed he knows. At least as a 2+ year old, he is a svelte 33lb running machine.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from scratchgolf72 wrote 3 years 1 week ago

my brittany has gotten a bit pudgy over the last year, but when she was in her prime she was a svelte little pointing machine. at 8 years old shes using her experience to find and point birds instead of athletic ability. hopefully ill get another 2 seasons out of her...in a few years here shell be a walking rug

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from Kyle VanBritson wrote 3 years 2 weeks ago

Haha,sounds to me like American dogs take after mosta their owners...

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from chaslee wrote 3 years 2 weeks ago

does this collar make my ars look fat??

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Joe_Cermele wrote 3 years 2 weeks ago

My dog's not fat, she's husky.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Graycoat Storm wrote 3 years 2 weeks ago

Purina has developed a detailed, easy-to-use chart and index for determining if your dog is underfed, overfed, or properly fed. Just type "Purina Body Condition System" into any internet search engine and it'll direct you to the appropriate site.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from VAHunter540 wrote 3 years 2 weeks ago

I have a Brittany, I know she is a little round around the edges; she fails the hour glass test with flying colors. I have been buying more nutritious food and being more exact with her portions but how much daily exercise does she need? 1 hour 3 hours? Do I need to take her out and make her run (play fetch), or is just letting her roam around our 5 acres as she pleases for a few hours a day enough of a workout. Could it be more of a weekly thing, say 3 days a week we play fetch or walk for 30 mins or does it need to be a daily routine.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from chadlove wrote 3 years 2 weeks ago

And I just wanted to point out that that's not my dog in the picture...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from shane wrote 3 years 2 weeks ago

This is very breed specific. Some dogs are should be deathly thin (sighthounds/longdogs). Some shouldn't be (labs, Norwegian elkhounds).

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from shotgunlou wrote 3 years 2 weeks ago

BaaaaaaaaaHaaaaaHaaaaaaHaaaaaaa!!! That pic of that dog is hilarious!!!!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from dogwood wrote 3 years 2 weeks ago

How to tell if your dog is too fat?
When DNR posts signs on your street requiring motorists to motor at idle speed because of "manatee zone".

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ChandlerV1997 wrote 3 years 2 weeks ago

My dog has been fat, but after the diet dog food, she's good now.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jjas wrote 3 years 2 weeks ago

That dog is ridiculous....

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from seadog wrote 3 years 2 weeks ago

Chad, how did you get that picture of my neighbor's dog? LOL

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jamesti wrote 3 years 2 weeks ago

ok, my dog is a little big. i haven't worked him in a few weeks as i have been getting ready for trout season. bad excuse, i know but i will get right back at it.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from chaslee wrote 3 years 2 weeks ago

if you have to lift your dog to relieve itself you may have a problem

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from LHistheman wrote 3 years 1 week ago

how do you even let your dogs get like this. take care of them honestly

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jere39 wrote 3 years 1 week ago

Good subject. My French Brittany doesn't just mosey around the yard. I live in the middle of about 60 acres of PA hardwoods. Unfortunately, not nearly enough birds, but plenty of room for my pup to run, and that seems to be the only speed he knows. At least as a 2+ year old, he is a svelte 33lb running machine.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from scratchgolf72 wrote 3 years 1 week ago

my brittany has gotten a bit pudgy over the last year, but when she was in her prime she was a svelte little pointing machine. at 8 years old shes using her experience to find and point birds instead of athletic ability. hopefully ill get another 2 seasons out of her...in a few years here shell be a walking rug

0 Good Comment? | | Report

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