Average Dog Weight – How to Tell if Your Dog is Overweight

Dog body condition chart

An estimated 56 percent of dogs in the U.S. are overweight or obese.*
How do you identify a healthy weight goal for your dog if he’s overweight (or underweight)?

Most people turn to resources on the internet for an average dog weight or a range. Because all dogs are different, though, it’s not that simple.

Dog breeds can have large weight ranges and they usually vary from male to females, too. If you have a mixed breed, this makes things even more complicated.

Purina developed the Body Condition System (BCS) for veterinarians to help eliminate confusion when it comes to assessing a dog’s weight. According to Dr. Callie Harris, DVM, “The BCS is a nine-point scale that can help your veterinarian assess your dog’s body condition and the severity of his weight problem.”

Feeding your dog a healthy weight dog food can help him achieve and maintain his ideal weight.

 

Problems with Identifying an “Average” Dog Weight

Since dogs come in so many different breeds and sizes, it’s impossible to identify an average weight for all dogs. Weight may also depend on the dog’s sex and whether they’ve been spayed or neutered.

Although many resources provide an average weight range for different breeds, it’s usually significant. These ranges often don’t take the dog’s sex and other factors into consideration.

For example, a typical weight range you might see for a Labrador Retriever is 55 to 80 pounds. That’s a big range, and most female Labs shouldn’t weigh 80 pounds. They should fall on the lower end of the range.

Weight ranges also don’t account for the many mixed breed dogs out there. Just because the typical range for a Lab is 55 to 80 pounds doesn’t mean your Lab mix will or should fall within that range. It depends on the other breeds he’s mixed with.

Plus, what if you don’t know the breed makeup of your mixed-breed dog? What then? Most resources say to use the dominant breed, but even then, you’re guessing what that is. An average dog weight or range definitely doesn’t work for mixed breeds.

 

A Better Solution for Determining Healthy Dog Weight

Rather than going off an average, which can be grossly inaccurate, veterinarians use our Body Condition System (BCS). With this system, your veterinarian uses physical and visual observations of your dog to assess his current body condition and whether he’s too heavy or too thin.

 

What if My Dog is Overweight?

If you suspect your dog is overweight, consider switching to a weight management dog food to help him achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

It’s also a good idea to consult with your veterinarian to rule out potential medical problems that could cause weight gain.

For more tips on dog weight loss, like exercises for your dog, see our article How Can I Help My Dog Lose Weight?

 

What if My Dog is Underweight?

Many people spend so much time worrying about whether their dog is overweight that they fail to consider their dog might be underweight.

If your veterinarian says your dog is too thin, “They may recommend increasing the amount of food you’re feeding or suggest a higher-calorie food to help him gain weight,” says Dr. Harris. “Once he reaches a healthy weight, an adult maintenance formula can help him maintain it long-term.”

Although it’s tempting to give your dog lots of treats and even people food during this time, it’s important not to overdo it. Even if your dog is underweight, treats should make up no more than 10 percent of his daily caloric intake. Otherwise, he might put on too much fat and not enough muscle.

You should also not overlook exercise during this time, as it’s important for building muscle. Learn more in our How to Help Your Dog Gain Weight article.

 

Average Dog Weight is a Myth

There’s no true average weight because there are no average dogs. Each dog is unique, and their ideal weight will vary based on several factors.

To learn more about dog weight and overall health from our experts, visit our Pet Expertise page. Browse all our weight management foods to find the right formula for your dog.

*According to the 2018 Pet Obesity Survey by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention.

 

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